Korn Ferry’s Global Human Resources Officers practice surveyed 193 chief human resources officers (CHROs) on a variety of topics to understand their perspective on the role and the major business trends that are impacting the human resources function.
The 2019 CHRO Pulse Survey found that CHROs are concerned about who will succeed them, with 76% of respondents saying they do not feel there is an internal ready-now successor for their role, and only one-half (52%) reporting they have a comprehensive succession plan. In addition, when asked about the capability gap that they are most focused on developing in their direct reports, 44% said strategic thinking.
“Grooming CHRO successors is a difficult challenge, because the greatest skill gaps we see in potential successors—board exposure, managing the compensation committee relationship, and executive compensation knowledge—are also the most difficult areas for a CHRO to delegate,” says Joseph McCabe, vice chair of Korn Ferry’s Global Human Resources Center of Expertise.
When asked about their most valuable career experience, almost half (45%) of the CHROs said working at a company going through a transformation. “Working at an organization undergoing significant change provides developmental opportunities that simply don’t exist in steady, day-to-day business,” says McCabe. “The change management required is invaluable experience.”
Additionally, the survey found that nearly half of the respondents (46%) said their top strategic priority was talent management. “For forward-thinking CHROs, talent management issues—such as how they manage a changing workforce within the constraints of their industry, how talent acquisition is really turning into talent access given the gig economy, and how work is done with agile teams—need to be the top-of-mind issues they are spending their time on,” says McCabe.
Finally, when asked about the perceived importance of the CHRO role, nearly one-quarter (24%) of CHROs said they do not believe their role is perceived as very important to developing their firm’s annual strategy. “How work within organizations is being done is rapidly changing. And as agile work teams continue to develop, it will have a huge impact on accessing talent with the right skills for an organization’s needs. It’s critical that CHROs are involved in looking at the future of their organization’s workforce during strategy development,” says McCabe.