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The CEO-CHRO Partnership

A new survey highlights where CEOs and HR chiefs are on the same C-Suite page—and where they’re not. The upshot? There’s room for improvement

Source | | C.J. Prince

Despite the pandemic and economic contraction of the past year, the talent war continues to rage, and CEOs want their human resource chiefs to spend more time finding, retaining and upskilling great employees, according to a new survey by Chief Executive and the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). But the survey, which polled 243 CEOs and 406 CHROs, also found CHROs wishing their CEOs spent more time thinking about diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) strategy. A closer look at the findings suggests that while the differences between CEO and CHRO perspectives are fewer than their areas of agreement, there might be room for improvement around collaboration on talent strategy overall. 

Finding and Keeping the Best

From the CEO’s perspective, the survey found the two biggest priorities for 2021 human capital strategy were talent retention & upskilling (58.4 percent) and availability & recruiting (56 percent of CEOs). While CHROs agreed on the former (60.3 percent), only 29 percent of CHROs said they’d like to see more time devoted to talent availability & recruiting. 

That may be a matter of emphasis, says Scott Glaze, CEO of Fort Wayne Metals. “The [CHRO] attitude is, ‘We’ve got this, we’re in good shape.’ The CEO doesn’t necessarily know which specific activities the HR group is doing to keep the talent pipeline going.” 

Twice as many CHROs (42.7 percent) as CEOs (20.6 percent) prioritized leadership transition for 2021, but when CEOs were asked to choose areas where the CHRO could add more value, the highest percentage (55.4 percent) chose “making better people managers.” 

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