Generally, heading up human resources is an inside job at most companies. Chief people officers (CPOs) typically focus their efforts on tasks like setting compensation and benefits, managing how many employees the company has and taking care of administrative challenges instead of working with customers or collaborating with other leaders.
Rachel Romer, cofounder and CEO of workplace education and upskilling platform Guild, decided to change the role of chief people officer at her company. “The job is about being the leader for the community of chief people officers we work with as opposed to focusing inward,” she says. “It’s similar to how tech companies have a chief technology officer who runs internal systems but also advise customers on technological issues.” She compares this reworked position to other broadened leadership roles in human capital companies that focus outward instead of just internally.
According to industry experts, the expanded role of human capital-related companies is due in part to the trend of having chief people officers who are more externally focused. This increased need for effective communication with clients and partners arises as HR tools become increasingly involved in strategic issues such as employee well-being or development, rather than simply performing administrative tasks like counting workers’ hours.
“The CHRO is becoming the face of the company to clients, potential customers, and other businesses,” Bersin explains. He’s seen this happen firsthand at companies like Workday where H.R.’s role has expanded considerably.
As the Chief People Officer gains importance in the C-suite, they are tasked with additional responsibilities such as that of a public health officer, social issues coordinator and remote-work puzzle solver. The role has been further elevated due to the pandemic which created disruptions in traditional workplaces. A successful CPO must function more like a true business leader than the traditional HR professional locked in an ivory tower.
CPOs are now more reliant on analytics reveal where they need to invest more money for new hires, and can also provide data-backed explanations on high turnover rates. Additionally, HR analysts can show whether training and development programs are effective in reducing these rates. All of this knowledge saves the company time, energy and eventually – money.
People Analytics does more than relay numbers and facts. It also offers interpretation about what those data points mean and how to use that information to improve employee experiences. People analytics can help assess where employees need new training or education programs, for example, or it can reveal the company’s overall pain points from an employee perspective. This allows CPOs to craft unique and highly individualized experiences for their workforce.
People analytics is increasingly becoming a business priority for modern organizations. By employing people analytics, businesses can focus on providing value, understanding workforce talent trends and connecting them back to HR strategy. With all the change happening in today’s workforce, there has been a renewed focus on using analytics to help organizations keep up with their talent needs.
The role of the CPO and the entire talent industry will continue to evolve. We need our HR team to be engrained in the business and function like business consultants who deal in the commodity of talent. It’s exciting to see where this journey will take us and how we can continue to increase the value we bring to the organizations we serve.
Want to read more about building a People Analytics function? Read more here.
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I joined the HR industry in 2004 after working as a sales leader in the Financial Services Industry for eight years. After spending his first couple of years in HR trying to fit in, I found my voice. Now I leverage all of the things I once hated about HR to become a consultant and invaluable partner to the businesses I support. I contribute to the HRGazzette and to DataDrivenInvestor on Medium. WARNING: my writing style is raw and in your face, not what you would expect from an HR executive.
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