Moment No. 5: Align HR leaders to a new HR strategy
Transitioning and new CHROs must gauge team effectiveness and determine how best to align HR staff to their vision and strategy. To evaluate your HR function’s maturity, identify what the team thinks are the function’s critical priorities and ensure consensus and engagement around the vision for the HR function.
Next, evaluate the capabilities of HR leadership team members in different business-driven scenarios the function will face in the future. The goal is to build a bench that can execute the new or existing strategy but is also flexible enough to adapt to strategy changes.
Moment No. 6: Connect HR staff to the new vision and strategy
Instead of communicating strategy top down, solicit input from HR staff to test the assumptions that inform the new strategy. Invite staff to stress-test the assumptions behind the new HR strategy and give them permission to identify where underlying assumptions are flawed.
Also empower HR staff by communicating relevant functional and business data and establishing the link between business data and the HR staff’s day-to-day work. This enables members of the HR function to prioritize their work based on organizational needs.
The CHRO can also make their HR staff more autonomous by creating a more flexible, employee-focused goal-setting process, based on linking organizational goals to individual HR staff goals and enabling HR staff to take ownership of their own goals.
Moment No. 7: Generate credibility and momentum with a quick win
CHROs who secure a notable win in the first few months of their tenure often outperform their peers. To achieve the most value from a quick win, involve others in the process; collaboration on a high-value opportunity is a hallmark of strong enterprise leadership.
That said, don’t be so focused on quick wins that you undermine performance by alienating certain teams. The best transitioning CHROs identify opportunities for collective quick wins with their teams, which will greatly increase the chances of success.
Moment No. 8: Elevate talent discussions with the board
A CHRO’s first board presentation is a capstone moment in their transition, as it offers an opportunity to reveal the strategy and cement credibility. Getting this meeting right often leads to the CHRO having more input into business decisions.
To effectively link talent to strategy during your first board presentation, do the following:
- Before the presentation, work with the CEO to understand and agree on strategy and talent objectives.
- Invest time to determine how to expose top talent directly to the board and tie talent to business decisions.
- Explicitly connect talent strategy to corporate strategy by prioritizing content on talent issues most related to organizational objectives and results.
- Make sure discussions over CEO succession don’t crowd out other key talent risks.
Moment No. 9: Navigate the political environment
New CHROs have a unique, yet risky, opportunity to directly confront and address any lurking barriers to performance. Get ahead of challenges or controversies by identifying them early on, coming up with recommendations and ensuring they can be quickly enacted. Choose thoughtfully which barriers to draw attention to and when, challenging the status quo on issues most vital to the job.
“It’s most helpful for a CHRO to determine in advance the criteria they’ll use to assess which challenges to undertake,” said Walsh. “Consistently challenging things is the easiest way for a CHRO to burn through their credibility.”