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Gear up for the role of Top CHRO with these traits


Aspiring for the coveted C-suite position is your obvious career progression as an HR manager. However, the road ahead is not easy and requires lots of efforts. So are you ready to embark on the journey towards the destination CHRO?

Do I hear some big YES? Yes, keep reading…

Don’t get bogged down by the statements like – CHROs don’t necessarily have to be from an HR background.

When aspiring for the role of a CHRO, you will come across all these hurdles and you have to overcome them like a pro. If you look at the traits of a CHRO you will realize that a successful CHRO is one who is business oriented, loves to push boundaries, explore new territories and have a huge appetite for risk. 

In fact, about 80% of executives believe that being assertive and data driven are some of the important traits for CHROs who wish to drive organizational growth.

Looking at the rest of the data (about 78% executives emphasizing on being performance focused and a direct business contributor as one of the important traits of a successful CHRO) HR managers can take heart from what Fred K Folkes had written in ‘The Rise of HR Traits’ that make up the Top CHROs DNA – “CEOs want a true business partner who can build the HR vision and strategy around business models.”

Inferring that being data driven, performance focused and business oriented are the three desired skills for a CHRO in the modern corporate world. Having said that here are few other important traits that make up the DNA of top CHROs –

1. Business leaders: one of the most important traits of a successful CHRO is to be a business leader. You need to be able to think about business when making or taking any decisions.

2. Multitasker: You will have to develop multitasking as there will always be something on your plate that will require your urgent attention. And interestingly it all runs parallelly.

3. Communicator: Exceptionally good communication skills are required here. Well, if you have to handle social media and digital reputation along with negotiations within teams, departments and organizations, fairly acceptable communication skills won’t do.

4. Progressive: You are either thinking ahead, or you are not thinking at all. You can either be a disruptor or be disrupted. Constant evolution and change are what your role as a CHRO will entail.

As you work on these traits, follow these guidelines to realize your CHRO dream.

  1. Rise beyond administration: No doubt administration forms the important function of an HR department, however, if you aspire for the role of top CHRO then you will have to think beyond administration. So push the boundaries, explore new opportunities within the company or elsewhere in a new position. Liaise with CEOs who understand that people drive success and lets you take strategic decisions. With almost 61% of organizations going global as compared to five years ago, CEO seek CHROs with both national and international exposure. Of course constant change and evolution will be your permanent partners so embrace them wholeheartedly.
  2. Business strategy requires your attention: If the recent study from Harvard Business Review is to believed then it is quite evident that HR leaders lack strategic perspective. According to it HR leaders tend to focus more internally and not externally. Not your fault, considering your major concern is employees. Unfortunately, this will not help you on your path to become a CHRO. Shift your focus to business strategy and try to aid and drive business growth like other departments. It will help you gain advantage over the others, as only 12% of HR organizations presently use predictive analytics for talent related decisions.
  3. Develop new skills: Hone your skills, and develop some new ones through professional programs and certifications in HR. Specific certifications in talent management will definitely be an added advantage. You can check out certifications and fellowship programs from TMI, ATD and TMI-Wharton programs to build on your strategic decision making skills. Whether it is certifications from TMI or ATD or Fellowship programs like Associate Fellow Program (AFP) or Global Fellow Program will coach you on how to strengthen your negotiation and decision making skills and become a strategic partner with CEO thus linking HR with the business.  

This apart develop few other skills like – emotional intelligence, driver of change, and leadership qualities.

  • Network: Last but definitely not the least – network as much as you can through various mediums. Join professional social platforms like LinkedIn and be an active member there. Connect with top influencers in your field and learn the ropes.

In the end, remember that a CHRO is an individual who is responsible for bringing the entire organization together. It is true that finding long term success in HR field can be difficult, however, with time and effort to develop yourself professionally through certifications; focusing on strategy and networking, you will definitely be able to achieve your CHRO dream.  

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