4 Ways HR Can Better Align with the CEO

December 7, 2016

4 Ways HR Can Better Align with the CEO

The CEO of any organization carries a lot of weight on his or her shoulders. Not only is he or she responsible for the well-being of the company, but his or her success and failure has real-life impact on the livelihood of all employees, as well as their families. Thus, CEO’s view talent management programs in a much different light than others.


According to The Hackett Group, companies that excel in talent management can increase earnings by spending 27 percent less than their competitors. Yet, despite the abundance of industry data showing improved talent management results in better business performance, many executives still view human resources as a cost center because it is difficult to measure HR campaign success in terms of fiscal impact.


To pass the initiatives that you are extremely passionate about, you must first understand the way your CEO views the world and do your homework to give clear, concrete recommendations that they simply can’t ignore. Here are a few tips to keep in mind.


1.  Know Your C-Suite’s Goals

When pitching your talent programs, take a step back and think about your organization’s strategic priorities and the goals the C-suite cares about. Then, figure out how your talent programs will benefit them.

Has your CEO prioritized expansion into emerging markets? Rather than saying your time-to-hire rates need improvement, translate that into what impact time-to-hire has on your organization’s ability to penetrate these new markets and drive top line growth. By showing the C-suite that your goals align with theirs, you will quickly earn their trust by showing understanding and consideration of their priorities.  


2.  Teach Like a CFO

Talent management programs often get dismissed because they are perceived as only impacting “soft skills,” which are next to impossible to quantify. To add extra emphasis on their importance, take a page of your CFO’s playbook and quantify these skills into measurable impact.

Don’t be afraid to work with folks from the financial department. For example, if it takes each manager at your company four hours to complete a paper-based performance review, and you have 50 different managers having to perform reviews for four direct reports each, that means 800 manager hours are being used. At an average manager pay rate of $75 per hour, that means this performance review process costs the company $60,000! These numbers are much more impactful to your cause and will show the CEO that you've done your research.


3. Identify and Solve Issues in Advance

Most CEO’s think about issues that may come up when implementing organizational changes, so make their life easier by identifying these obstacles in advance and providing recommendations on how to overcome them. By doing so you will show your C-suite that you are well prepared and have a well-thought-out proposal. Doing your homework always helps.


4.  Be Succinct

The one thing executives don’t have is time. Do not waste their most valuable resource by beating around the bush. Instead, act as if your CEO just got in the elevator and you need to convey the most mission-critical information as to why this new proposal is important. You’ll want to build out your proposal further and with more detail than an elevator pitch, but clear and concise communication will be greatly appreciated.

The Authors: 

Alex Vaccaro is senior director of marketing programs at Saba, which delivers cloud-based Intelligent Talent Management solutions used by leading organizations worldwide to hire, develop, engage and inspire their people. Proir to Saba, Vaccaro was vice president of marketing at Connectivity.