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A Global Conversation about HR

Can Yesterday’s CHRO Be Today’s CPO?

How HR Leaders Can Reshape the Future of the Function

Chief Human Resources Officers (CHROs) are under pressure. They know, perhaps better than almost every other organizational officer, that leadership is evolving and this requires personal and team development to advance as well. However, when it comes to developing HR leaders for the future, CHROs often do not receive much support. They are caught between an administrative and a transformational role and struggling to deliver on lofty expectations set by CEOs without the appropriate resources or recognition—in some cases—within their organizations.

While some organizations have made a shift in title from CHRO to Chief People Officer (CPO), often that move is in name alone, without regard for the broader cultural and contextual change involved. It is essentially, moving from heading a function (administrative) to leading the most critical asset in the organization (people). While this may sound obvious, the nuances of this evolution are numerous and deserve further exploration.

We wanted to find out what was on HR leaders minds’ at this juncture and how to better support HR leaders in making these sweeping changes—to both the function and to themselves. Egon Zehnder convened leaders of the HR function in 20 cities around the world for candid discussions about what’s working in HR (and what isn’t) and to start a conversation about the need to invest more in the people function so HR leaders can play the role that is expected of them.

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