Your first 90 days as a CHRO can be some of the toughest but most rewarding. Time is of the essence, and it’s critical to learn the intricacies of the business in the first three months—all while establishing your reputation as a serious and trustworthy C-level people professional. But, perhaps the hardest nut to crack is demonstrating how your company’s HR organization can be a powerful revenue generator—and proving it with hard data and facts.
Uprooting the deep-seated belief of “HR as cost-center” within your first 90 days on the job and establishing yourself as the CHRO who can turn it around is critical to your success.
But accomplishing this depends on creating a water-tight, people-centric HR strategy and roadmap that win enthusiastic buy-in from your C-suite colleagues, board members, and investors. It all starts with building a trusting relationship and great rapport with your CEO and other C-suite peers.
Read this CHRO playbook to help develop the long-term critical relationships you need at the beginning of your tenure as CHRO or follow these five steps. These will help you forge the foundations of an HR strategy and roadmap that align with your new company’s business goals and set you up as the proven and accomplished HR leader you know you are.
1. Build a great relationship with your C-suite colleagues
Every relationship is built on communication. So, talk, listen, and listen some more.
Make it a point to initiate frequent and honest conversations with your C-suite—especially your CEO and CFO. Talk about everything from their goals and vision for the company to talent, budget, resource planning, employee satisfaction, culture, and more.
Boldly ask questions. What does the data say? What do your people say? What’s worked and what hasn’t? This will help you determine where the gaps are and how to build them into your people strategy.
Establish trust and confidence in your leadership. Listen to people’s responses and ask yourself how you can drive a people-first HR strategy that aligns with and improves upon the company’s existing business strategy. Then, confidently pitch your ideas to your CEO and other C-levels, and brainstorm. Make yourself, your ingenuity, and your tenacity the talk of the leadership team.
But, establishing yourself as a trusted member of the C-suite is only the first crucial step to building your HR roadmap and strategy.
2. Define your HR business goals
Leverage the conversations you’re having with the C-suite and others across the organization to map the overarching business goals. In parallel, map your own vision and objectives for the people organization.
In today’s global, fast-paced, and constantly-evolving world, people goals must be agile enough to quickly and easily adapt to changing economic conditions, business challenges, and workforce trends.
These five people goals are a good place to start:
- Develop a company-wide change management strategy
- Improve leadership training and effectiveness
- Invest in a people-centric, flexible work culture
- Ensure your compensation and benefits are competitive
- Automate processes with modern HR tech to increase efficiency
Aligning and combining business and HR goals is the key to driving meaningful change and generating revenue for your new organization. But you can’t do it without data.
3. Identify the HR metrics that matter
HR data is what helps keep your organization competitive and attractive to top talent. It’s also fundamental to helping you establish that people metrics and KPIs are just as critical as traditional business KPIs.
Lean into those critical conversations with your colleagues to determine what people data you need. Now is the perfect time to dig in and understand what HR metrics your organization currently tracks and identify which ones are missing.
- Recruitment metrics like quality-of-hire and time-to-fill and time-to-hire, and employee growth rate
- DE&I metrics like gender pay gap and gender diversity ratio
- Retention metrics like your employee net promoter score (eNPS), career path ratio, salary change, L&D, and absenteeism rates
Use these HR metrics as a jumping-off point to ensure you cover all your bases, from company culture to hiring practices, record keeping, compensation and benefits, safety and security in the workplace, and professional development training.
The insights you gain from this data are key to helping you build your strategy and prove, as a new CHRO, that HR is a powerful revenue generator for the business.
4. Leverage HR tech to interpret the data
There’s a lot of data out there, and it’s easy for critical insights to get lost in the noise. This is just one instance where investing in HR tech can help with the heavy lifting. But what does your new company’s HR tech stack look like? Are they already using an HCM/HRIS? Does the company rely on one HR platform or various point solutions?
While point solutions can be a good option, depending on the size of your organization, the costs can add up fast. On the other hand, modern HR platforms with multifunctional HR support can save on cost and time. They’re designed to do the heavy lifting for you and your people team, excelling at automating processes from onboarding and time and attendance to compensation management and offboarding.
A high-quality HR platform automates data analysis, enabling you to quickly garner critical insights into a plethora of people data with customizable and easily digestible dashboards on everything from compensation, local compliance laws, and recruitment data to DE&I and employee engagement stats.
It can offer a single source of truth and provide user-friendly and flexible tools. It can also provide you with the ability to implement unified processes throughout the entire employee lifecycle. HR platforms allow you to easily access and analyze all your data in one place—for a fraction of the cost and time of manual processes—clearly demonstrating their value to the C-suite and the rest of the organization.
Now, you’re ready to start building your HR action plan and roadmap.
5. Build your HR action plan
It’s common for HR professionals to meet resistance when it comes to securing a budget and gaining the confidence of high-level stakeholders in the business.
As CHRO, this is your time to shine. You know how people programs serve as fundamental, cost-effective solutions to existing business challenges. The challenge for you is to craft an HR roadmap that achieves buy-in by speaking directly to your C-suite colleagues, especially your CEO and CFO.
Here are a few examples of business challenges, HR-driven solutions, and positive business outcomes:
Business challenge: Declining employee engagement
- Be more transparent and trusting
- Invest in better communications tools and manager training
Positive business outcomes
- Increase peer-to-peer engagement and encourage genuine relationships between colleagues
- Improve collaboration, boost productivity and creativity, and nurture a healthy company culture (improving your EVP)
Business challenge: Rising costs of corporate real estate
- Offer more flexibility, allowing people to set their schedules
- Consider a permanent hybrid work schedule and invest in WFH stipends for every team member
- Invest in building a global team that doesn’t rely on one central office location
Positive business outcomes
- Cut down on office space and slash your overhead spending
- More flexibility also means happier people, which also boosts productivity, engagement, and efficiency
- You won’t have to rely on any central office locations, saving on more real-estate budget
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Business challenge: Labor shortage and skills gap
- Again, invest in building a global team
- Invest in L&D
- Set up mentorship and knowledge-share programs
Positive business outcomes
- Expand the scope of your recruitment efforts, and tap into more talent that can work from anywhere
- Save time and money on recruitment efforts, and leverage less-costly geographies to lower headcount costs
- Keep your people’s knowledge and skills fresh to avoid the need for redundancy and recruitment costs
- Train workforce newcomers on the job and keep veteran professionals’ skills relevant to avoid overly expensive talent acquisition efforts
Presenting your HR roadmap is the key to C-level buy-in
The HR roadmap you build at the beginning of your tenure as a CHRO is fundamental to your success going forward. But keep your eyes on the prize.
Gaining buy-in and respect from the C-suite, board, and other high-level stakeholders depends on how you present your plan. It’s critical to position your HR initiatives as responses to business-specific pain points that resonate specifically with company leadership right now.
From there, it’s easy. After all, great business strategy is people-centric, HR-driven business strategy. It draws on intelligent, data-based people initiatives designed to increase employee engagement, propel productivity, and boost the bottom line.