Let’s Fix Work Episode 82
Earlier this year I was invited to speak to a bunch of corporate executives about the future of work. I was there as the special guest expected to bring some new ideas on how to rethink and re-imagine the world of human resources. I love these opportunities because it gives me a chance to try out new material. I decided to talk about something I’ve been thinking about for a long time. What if the CEO ran human resources?
What would happen in your company if your CEO woke up tomorrow and suddenly decided to run human resources? Sure, it could mean a big disruption and there would be a huge learning curve for most CEOs. If you’re a CEO, you may be thinking you would be way too busy to run the HR department. In this episode, I explore what the world of Human Resources would look like if we passed the reins to the CEO. Sure, your reaction listening to this episode may turn out just like the audience I presented this topic to; they were mad. They even heckled me. They thought it was a stupid idea. All of this tells me I’m on to something good. So if you are interested in exploring what a human resources department run by a CEO might look like, then sit back and listen to this episode of Let’s Fix Work.
In this episode, you’ll hear:
- There needs to be a re-imagining of the world of HR, why not give it to the CEO
- When your CEO runs human resources, it breaks down this notion that there are people and then there are profits
- As a leader, you cannot guarantee that people are having a good experience at work unless you have a direct line of sight and accountability into that function
- Why I’m in love with the idea that CEOs should run the human resources department
- Ask the person who is the most creative, most powerful, and most responsible for fixing work to run the HR department, the CEO
WHY MIGHT THE CEO BE THE RIGHT PERSON TO RUN THE HR DEPARTMENT?
For those of us who either work in human resources or work with human resources departments, we know there needs to be a reimagination of the world of HR. Who can do better for the employees than the CEO? Second, when your CEO runs human resources, it breaks down this notion that there are people and then there are profits. The system is fundamentally reconfigured and hopefully it’s reconfigured to give employees an advantage to do their best work, and finally, CEOs are actively involved in investor relations, sales calls, and all kinds of executive communication strategies to improve revenue and profitability. If you take that same attention and apply it to your people, you’re going to have dramatically different results.
LAURIE, YOU SEEM PASSIONATE ABOUT THIS TOPIC. WHY ARE YOU SO IN LOVE WITH THE IDEA THAT CEOS SHOULD RUN THE HUMAN RESOURCE DEPARTMENT?
As a leader, you cannot guarantee that people are having a good experience at work unless you have a direct line of sight and accountability into that function, which is why I’m in love with the idea that CEOs should run the human resources department. There are business goals and people goals that overlap. Why not marry the two together and make this an organizational priority in a new and creative way by having the CEO run HR?
WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO THE CEO WHO SAYS THEY DON’T HAVE TIME TO RUN THE HR DEPARTMENT?
I know there are time constraints. You don’t have to tell me twice. I ran a startup. Even in my little teeny startup, I recognized time constraints, but I think time constraints are like a pressure that are going to force change throughout the entire enterprise. As CEO, if you run HR, in a year, your entire organization is going to be running differently. It will be transformed.
I NOTICED THAT YOU USED THE PRONOUN HE WHEN REFERRING TO CEOS IN THIS EPISODE. WHY’S THAT?
A quick word on why I keep using the pronoun “he” for CEOs. It is because out of the Fortune 1000 list, only 54 of the CEOs are women. Yeah. I think if you give those CEOs the responsibility of doing HR, that might change.
What if the CEO is the person that thinks employees are inter-changeable widgets that the company can get a suitable candidate in a snap because the company is great, everyone wants to work here, blah, blah. None of which is true and HR already overlooks good candidates. Too many CEOs are interested only in the Quarterly profit that generates the executive bonus, IMHO. Too bad it cannot be different as you say so that the CEO can run it for a year and learn a better way! I hope someone is brave enough to do this. Eve if the CEO actually worked for a week at the bottom of the ladder would be enlightening for him/her.
Who but the CEO? Who else holds that much responsibility for the performance of the organization? The best culture I ever experienced was close to this concept. While the CEO didn’t run HR per se, the person had a very strong connection to driving the culture and people development (key HR areas). The overall effect and way the HR team functioned was very different. Super interesting experience and thanks for holding the conversation.