Heading up the HR department

The role of a chief human resources officer (CHRO) involves overseeing all of a company’s staff management and labour-relations practices. Just a few of the trends and priorities you may find yourself focusing on include: scarce, yet expensive talent; global supply constraints; economic pressure; ways to enhance the employee experience; the importance of change management; and working on leader and manager efficacy, reveals Charles Edelstein of Executive Placements.

Ways to break through the glass ceiling

Start your journey in HR by completing a bachelor’s degree in social science or business administration. Thereafter, seek out an internship within the HR department of a big, or busy, organisation. You’ll want to learn a great deal and have a hand in most of the intricate HR-related tasks going on – which is best accomplished when a department is slightly short staffed. Next, it’s time to find an entry-level HR position on the basis of your studies and experience, and to set about working your way up the career ladder – from a junior to a senior leadership position.

At this point, it’s a good idea to upskill with a few relevant certifications or short courses. Examples include: Executive and Management Coaching, Human Resource Management, Professional Communication and Office Management, Strategic Human Resource Management, and/or Training and Development Management. Further, taking on an MBA with an HR focus will stand you in excellent stead when it comes to qualifying for the top rung – the CHRO job – within a vibrant corporate.

Your day-to-day duties

A CHRO has a massive administrative responsibility in any given company. This individual’s duties range across the likes of development training programmes, recruiting new staff members, interviewing potential applicants, making sure government regulations are known and enforced throughout a business, bringing the entire staff contingent together wherever possible at team-building functions, and supervising the junior HR team members while also mentoring their more senior team managers. If you make yourself available to your team as a much-valued resource and a kindly ear, they will learn on the job (as you once did) and be able to apply an increasing level of skill, expertise and experience to the tasks at hand.

Reasons to seek advice as you climb

It goes without saying that the management of an HR department is critical to the success of any given company. Skillful handling of the systems and infrastructure that keep staff thriving and their interactions smooth has a decided impact on a company’s financial impetus. Once you’ve risen up to assume the CHRO role , you’ll be clear on the value of your talent base and the importance of developing, motivating and retaining key staff members to achieve your firm’s strategic business goals. But over and above the solid base you will have developed from your studies and experience, you may also face various challenges as you set about working as a strategic partner to your chief executive officer .

At this point, it can help to seek new insights and fresh knowledge to keep the well-being and productivity of your staff contingent high. Short courses and executive coaching  are best in this regard – with a global workplace survey from the Adecco Group revealing that 74 percent of employees would like their management team to show them more empathy and support; and as many as 54 percent of directors feeling that they will be unable to act in accordance with such expectations unless they seek help via:

  1. the theoretical knowledge a course may offer them;
  2. the practical skills they may learn in a series of executive coaching sessions.

HR Trends 2023

Employees have extremely high expectations, reveal the HR leaders of today. In fact, a recent study shows that HR managers are exhausted and need the opportunity to recharge their batteries, so they can receive the proper tools to do their jobs well. But this is not HR’s responsibility alone – it’s a business problem that must be prioritised. If businesses don’t empower HR to function effectively and make better strategic decisions, organisations will face greater internal pressures from the challenges of the new world of work. HR holds the key to unlocking the change, but enabling them is a business-wide responsibility. Let’s hope all the CEOs, CFOs and COOs are sitting up and taking notice.

Just a few of the trends that the HR leaders I’ve chatted to seek to highlight, include:

  • Prioritising employee wellness and building resilience to avoid burnout across the organisation but in the HR department, too;
  • Offering ongoing and plentiful opportunities to learn, close gaps, and upskill – to remain ahead of any marketplace competition and keep staff retention levels high;
  • Putting future-proof policies in place that allow remote and hybrid conditions to actually work for each employee;
  • Ensuring the CHRO can take his or her rightful place in the C-suite’s inner circle; and
  • Facilitating the creation of a “purpose-driven” organisation, where the work being accomplished has personal meaning for its teams and directors, over and above the company’s ultimate success.

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Charles Edelstein
Charles Edelstein

Charles Edelstein is a director at Executive Placements, a jobs portal that connects high-level candidates with the positions they most desire.