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Blueprint for a First Time Chief Human Resources Officer
HR Trends

Blueprint for a First Time Chief Human Resources Officer

Sharon Monteiro
July 26, 2023

Congratulations! During these unpredictable and challenging times, you have bagged an exciting new role as an executive in human resources. It’s Day 1 for you as a first time Chief Human Resources Officer – now what do you do?

Now, whether you’re a newly minted CEO or CHRO, it is critical that you have a deliberate and focused transition plan. Doing so can significantly improve a leader's ability to build an effective leadership style, begin shaping a vision for the HR function, and observe the office culture and how work gets done. A deliberate, thoughtful, and well-orchestrated transition plan for the first time chief human resources officer is even more important in today’s remote and hybrid working environments.

The blueprint for a first time Chief Human Resources Officer was created as a resource for ensuring an impactful transition and an accelerant that will set you up for long-term success. So, here’s the guide to your onboarding, filled with advice and highlighting potential pitfalls to avoid.

The challenge

Talent continues to be at the top of the organizational agenda. And recent events have escalated the needs for a CHRO who can help shape the human capital agenda. Culture, employee retention, and diversity, equity and inclusion are the new checkboxes that need ticking-off. HR is increasingly turning into the operation that is leading the charge on return to office, managing the complexities involved with it, and also ensuring that people across the organisation continue to have a positive employee experience. Consequently, it has now become more critical than ever to create an early momentum and build a foundation for a first time CHRO’s (and your team’s) long-term success.

Also Read: Why CHROs make great CEOs

first time chief human resources officer

Blueprint for a first time Chief Human Resources Officer to engage and empower your resources

Your first 100 days of your new role as Chief Human Resources Officer are a unique of opportunity before you become fully immersed in the role's demands. Getting on a steady start can help you earn the confidence of your CEO and organization, and give you the momentum to achieve great long-term performance.

It would be mindful to execute this tried-and-tested 3-point plan during your first 100 days as Chief Human Resources officer:

Step 1: Understand the business and workforce issues

Determine the current and changing dynamics of key markets and customers, as well as their implications for business strategy, brand, and workforce priorities.

Day 1

  • Identify and record personal brand characteristics in terms of substance and style. Prepare to be challenged.
  • Navigate the enterprise portal and activate your new smartphone.
  • As you go through onboarding, keep track of how effective the new-hire experience is in real time.
  • Begin involving the HR leadership team

Day 2-10

  • Locate and review documents related to business strategy, culture, and leadership initiatives, among other things.
  • Determine global stakeholders, such as executive leadership, the human resources team, operations/line leaders, employees, customers, and vendors.
  • Make a list of important business and workforce issues to discuss during executive interviews.
  • Create interview guides and templates for post-interview analyses.
  • Make a plan for assessment and strategy development (include communication and change management)

Day 11-30

  • Keep track of which systems HR employs, which are effective, and which may need to be changed or updated.
  • Begin structured interviews with stakeholders, ideally in person and on their home territory.
  • Determine where HR personnel spend their time by conducting an activity-based analysis.
  • Gather benchmarking data as needed. Analyze and summarise the results.
  • Continue to involve the HR leadership team.

Step 2: Develop workforce and HR function strategies

- Determine workforce segments and characteristics that contribute to competitive advantage.

- Synchronize people and business strategy.

- Establish HR priorities and the best way to organise and deliver services.

Day 31-40

  • Conduct interviews with key stakeholders.
  • Analyze data and findings and identify gaps.
  • Gather and integrate benchmarking data.
  • Conduct any additional interviews that are required.

Day 41-70

  • Examine assessment findings and create a preliminary people strategy based on assessments from day one to day forty.
  • Create an initial HR function strategy, including: Organization, Technology,Sourcing, Governance, and Business case for change (qualitative and quantitative)
  • Determine the metrics you will use to assess the success of your strategic vision.
  • Preview and fine-tune your plans in consultation with the HR leadership team and key business leaders.
  • Determine the necessary changes, potential barriers, and activities to ensure successful implementation.

Day 71-80

Create high-level implementation plans for one, three, and five years. (A more comprehensive plan will be required once the strategy has been finalised and widely discussed.)

Day 81-90

  • To gain buy-in, share the findings, recommendations, and implementation plan with key stakeholders.
  • Assist the CFO in understanding the value of human resources and planned investments.
  • Iterate and refine.

Day 91-100

  • Prepare the final strategy and action plans for approval by the executive leadership team.
  • Assemble and mobilise project implementation teams.
  • Involve HR and bring them along for the ride.

Guiding Principles for the first time Chief Human Resources Officer

  1. Identify issues that are important to key stakeholders and create plans to gain immediate benefits.
  2. Make an effort to link the HR function's and the business' goals.
  3. Develop a comprehensive change plan that includes activities, timing, resources, and expected returns.
  4. Create and present a compelling quantitative case for change.
  5. Stay true to your beliefs while adapting to and learning from your new surroundings.

Also Read: What do CEOs look for in CHROs?

Final words

Today's CHRO positions are large and complex. CHROs have successfully elevated their game across multiple industries and are now exceptional business- and impact-oriented senior executives. As a first time Chief Human Resources Officer, you can improve your chances of success by understanding the role and developing an action plan that produces results across the organisation. Rely on a supportive peer group, think about hiring a coach, and, most importantly, lean on your team. Because it is the leaders who have the most influence and legacy who can work through and empower others.

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