This post is submitted by Joyce Maroney, Executive Director of the Workforce Institute.

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing David Creelman and Peter Navin, authors of the new book The CMO of People: Manage Employees Like Customers with an Immersive Predictable Experience that Drives Productivity and Performance. David is a longtime Workforce Institute board member, speaker and author focused on leadership and HR. Peter is Chief Human Resources Officer at Grand Rounds, a leading provider of employer-based technology that connects members and their families to high-quality healthcare. Peter joined me for a podcast in 2017 to talk about why more executives should consider the role of CHRO as a career path.

In this book David and Peter propose a new model for HR leaders to consider that borrows heavily from marketing disciplines and urges them to think about talent management in terms of maximizing the lifetime value of employees. Just as the CMO thinks in terms of the acquisition and lifetime value of customers, Peter Navin's Talent Funnel "cocktail napkin" chart here summarizes the analogous concepts for how CHROs can think about talent.

Talent Funnel Model
Peter Navin's Talent Funnel Model

In our wide ranging conversation, we talked about:

  1. How HR leaders can use this model to up their brand from Personnel Department to strategic partner.
  2. Why HR should approach curating the employee experience the way a Chief Marketing Officer does the customer experience.
  3. Why the “predictable and immersive employee experience” is so important and what tools an HR leader can use to achieve this.
  4. The need to find unconventional people to staff this unconventional model.

You'll learn a lot more by listening to the podcast below, and even better, by reading the book. And please consider adding your own thoughts by commenting on this post.

Today's post comes to us from Workforce Institute board member Joseph Cabral, Chief Human Resources Officer and President of Workforce Solutions at Press Ganey.  We recently did a podcast with Joe to talk about the importance of analytics to improving patient outcomes and making the delivery of health services more efficient and cost effective.

Today's healthcare Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO) has moved beyond managing traditional personnel and administrative functions. As key strategic business partners, they are not only responsible for overseeing benefits and compensation, employee experience, diversity and regulatory compliance–they also help drive the clinical and financial performance of their organizations.

CHROs are expected to deliver better patient outcomes, work environments and bottom lines. This is not check-the-box work. This is rebuilding a human capital management system from the ground up in order to create and sustain an organizational culture that engages the workforce, promotes innovation and bridges operational silos.

Achieving this ideal requires CHROs to leverage data analytics to evaluate the effectiveness of talent management programs. With the right insights, CHROs can target areas of improvement while informing new workforce strategies that account for global labor trends, available talent and next generation leadership. This will enable them to transform their organizations' human capital strategies, replacing traditional practices like hiring freezes and flex scheduling with evidence-based best practices that keep pace with industry and workforce changes.

Evolution is challenging–and inevitable. Adapting and innovating is essential to succeed in the new health care landscape. CHROs must be prepared for new regulations, cybersecurity crises, medical errors, mergers and acquisitions, competitive threats and more in this era of disruption. Furthermore, they must be prepared to present change and prepare our workforces for it.

None of this is easy, but all of it is rewarding. Healthcare CHROs have the honor of working with people, and more importantly, people in healthcare. In the ongoing challenge of evaluating our processes and strategies to meet their unique needs, we get to help those people save lives.


Today's post is from Joyce Maroney, Executive Director of the Workforce Institute.

This week I had the pleasure of speaking with Peter Navin, the senior vice president of employee experience at Grand Rounds, a company that provides an employer-based solution that gives employees and their families the technology, information and support they need to make decisions about whether and where to receive medical treatment. Before joining Grand Rounds, Peter has had a long and varied career in human resources leadership at companies like DocuSign and Shutterfly. He has also recently authored a Harvard Business Review article with Workforce Institute Board member David Creelman and fellow HR luminary John Boudreau on the topic of Why More Executives Should Consider Becoming a CHRO.

In this podcast recording of our conversation, you'll learn how Peter's career led him to the CHRO role and what advice he has for others who are CHRO's or who aspire to be.  He shares his four principles for creating a culture of engagement and performance as well as how executives aspiring to the CHRO role can prepare to make that move.

You'll also hear his responses to the following questions, among others:

Listen to the podcast below:

Are you an HR professional?  What would be your tips for someone who wishes to advance in the profession?

The following guest post is courtesy of our board member, David Creelman.

A recent Harvard Business Review online article written by myself and two colleagues, Peter Navin and John Boudreau, titled “Why More Executives Should Consider Becoming a CHRO” has attracted a lot of attention. Many CEOs have thought of bringing in business leaders without HR experience to run HR; and it's a tactic that is rich in both opportunity and risk. However, it's not the tactic that grabbed people's attention, it was the experience business leaders had when they moved into HR.

The experience is captured in an observation by executive search leader Phil Johnson: “When a CEO asks a business leader to run HR, the most frequent response is _What did I do wrong?' It's not seen as a desirable role; it's seen as punishment. Of course, they haven't had a chance to think it through, but that's the first reaction.”

That first reaction is not entirely unfair, HR has a reputation as a bureaucratic backwater. Never mind that research by Dave Ulrich and Ellie Fisher shows that the CHRO's competencies closely match those needed for a CEO; joining HR isn't usually seen as a great career move. No wonder most business leaders are surprised if they are offered the role.

But wait, that was not the big surprise.

The big surprise for business leaders is that the CHRO role is absolutely the best one they've ever had. It has unparalleled scope and freedom. It has massive impact across all elements of the business–and it's fun. Let's imagine you have a problem with too many bugs in your new fintech app. Maybe the solution is to change the incentives. Maybe it's improving hiring or re-working the job design. Perhaps training needs to be better or you need a fix to the corporate culture in terms of collaboration. Almost all the levers for solving these business problems lie within HR; no wonder business leaders found running HR to be the best job ever.

The lesson for CEOs is to stop thinking of HR as an administrative support unit. See the CHRO as one of the top two or three roles in the company and set expectations accordingly. An unleashed HR department, staffed by the right people, is a massive competitive advantage for firms willing to think differently.

One can't help but be reminded of Kronos which is now a $1.3 billion-dollar company, that has delivered 9% compound annual growth over the last 5 years while also successfully transforming from an on-premise to a cloud technology provider. How did it do that? Well, a big part of it was elevating the HR function so that it could deliver the impact it is capable of. Kronos's HR function focuses on the business and makes its decisions based on the best available data and evidence. As a result, HR has played a big role in the organization's success, and the company regularly shows up on best places to work lists.

Here's one final lesson. David Almeda, Chief People Officer at Kronos says, “I don't think we're doing anything exceptional.” We got the same feeling from everyone we interviewed. No one was boastful about the cool or innovative or important things they were doing. Their successful deployment of the HR function was just a natural part of applying their best intelligence and business savvy to the issues facing the enterprise–and doing so in tight collaboration with the other business leaders.

CEOs need to change their expectations of HR; and business leaders from all functions should be fighting it out for a chance to get the best job in the C-suite: the job of CHRO.

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