CEO Learns About Human Resources

I am helping a CEO learn what Human Resources should be providing his company.  Like many CEOs, he is well versed in the financial and operational sides of the business, but the HR world is a little mysterious.  Yet this CEO realized that not knowing what HR should be doing has left him to wonder if they are doing what he needs for the company to be successful.

This particular company doesn’t have a training function, and HR has no desire to add one to their list of responsibilities.  “If they want training some other senior leader needs to take it on” was the response I got when I asked why training was absent.  So I went to the CEO to discover who would be the best champion for the building of a training function.  He said, “Human Resources.”

There are days I just want to scream, but this time I simply replied, “they are not interested in taking on the responsibility and suggested that if the company wants training some other senior leader should be responsible.”  I then suggested we talk on the phone for 15 minutes.

While this CEO claimed not to really understand the HR function, he knows so much more than he realized.  Yet in fairness, he was not holding HR responsible for much.  As we build his confidence, I am noticing that he is getting more involved in the workings of his HR.  He noticed that the recruiting process seemed long.  He noticed that entry-level jobs don’t retain employees and they were leaving for other companies.  He noticed that HR spent a lot of time dealing with performance problems.  This guy is a quick study!

Now while training can prevent a lot of issues, he realized that there was more to the problem then just the absence of training.  He has a very competent HR Director, but she was feeling under appreciated.  This is why she had no desire to take on additional responsibilities.  In time this will change, and in no small part because this CEO learned what Human Resources was all about.



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