CHRO Day 1 Review: HR as a Business

The CHRO Exchange is underway in Austin, Texas. The three day event hosted by IQPC Exchange brings in the best in class C-level and executive HR leaders from some of the largest, most well-known companies around the United States. A sampling includes Walmart, Allegion, Philips Medical Systems and Advent Health.

Day 1 of the exchange focused on topics such as how to run HR like a business and succession planning through the lens of diversity.

CHRO Exchange - Day 1

HR as a Business

For some HR leaders, their job is improving engagement and retention of talent. While that is partially true, the ultimate measure of value for HR is the organization’s performance. And in the digital world of HR, the organization’s agility is transparent to its customers.

John Lacy, the EVP and CHRO for Baylor Scott & White, says the best finance functions operate with precision to maximize the return on financial investments and choices. Running HR “like a business” empowers the CHRO to maximize the return on the human investment. Such an approach can only work if HR leaders are willing to transform themselves from program/initiative managers to strategic and operationally-savvy business leaders. This is no longer just a seat at the table, it moves the CHRO to a trusted advisor for the CEO and Board much like the CFO.

Embracing Technology

It all begins with a vision for innovation. Allegion is a 100-year-old manufacturing company and its workers were in major need of up-skilling. CHRO Shelley Meador knew it was going to take more than just strategy. It was going to take a learning journey, one that started at the top with buy-in from senior leaders, outside-in thinking, and the ability to permeate a refreshed vision throughout the organization. During her discussion, Meador shared the company’s experience building intentional leadership based on truth, innovation, adventure along with aligning HR with business goals, and applying innovation best practice to reinvent the way HR is delivered.

They key to this was simple.

“It’s really about learning from one another aw we’re exposed to these new digital strategies,” Meador said.

Employee Experience

The employee experience also took center stage on Day 1. During a panel discussion on the topic, three senior level HR professionals explained what EX meant to them and their organizations. Panelists included:

• Olesea Azevedo, SVP and CHRO, Advent Health
• Rose Huddleston, SVP, HR – North America, Wynn Resorts
• Kevin Dull, SVP and Chief of Human Potential, MultiCare Health

One topic that came about during the discussion was the impact of technology on the employee experience. Dull summed up the best description.

Courtesy:  Mason Stevenson

He said, “I flew into Austin on a plane yesterday and I felt the turbulence kick in when we landed. That’s what the disruption feels like for HR.”

Diversity in Succession Planning

When it comes to succession planning, diversity is often left out of the equation. And it’s to the businesses detriment. DeRetta Coles Rhodes is the SVP of HR for the Atlanta Braves. She started off her presentation with some unfortunate statistics.

Courtesy:  Mason Stevenson

Meanwhile, other research shared illustrates having women in leadership correlates with better overall business performance. That includes significant increases in ROI, return on sales and invested capital. Rhodes said women bring different experiences, perspectives and competencies to leadership roles. Providing targeted leadership programs for women is not just a diversity initiative according to Rhodes, it is a business imperative.

“We as #HR leaders have to help our managers shift the [ #DiversityandInclusion ] paradigm.” Rhodes said.

Looking ahead

Day 2 of the CHRO Exchange is shaping up to be full of great presentations on a plethora of topics.

Those include:

• Succession Planning: An Investment Portfolio Approach
• Workforce Science: Impacting the Employee Experience using Science & Data
• HEINEKEN’s Approach to Employee Voice