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Chief Human Resource Officer Job Description

Traditionally, the chief human resource officer job descriptionhas included responsibilities that encompass stewardship and high-level administrative functions. Along with the transformation of the business world, the expectations of C-level HR professionals have changed as well. Today's chief human resource officer job description is multidimensional. From regulatory compliance and corporate governance overseer to organizational strategist and enterprise business leader, the chief human resource officer is much more involved in shaping the business strategy - not just supporting and implementing it.

Key Skills for a Chief Human Resource Officer

In a recent Boston Business Journal article regarding the changing landscape for chief human resource officers, Margaret Butteriss says, "Chief human resource officers and other human resource leaders must possess skills and competencies that extend beyond human resources, and demonstrate an understanding of the entire business, positioning the chief human resource officer as a strategic business partner." As the Senior Vice President of Organizational Counseling at Right Management, a global career transition firm in Boston, Butteriss is well aware of what it takes to be an effective chief human resource officer. She explains, "Chief human resource officers, for example, need to master critical leadership competencies and behaviors, demonstrate decisiveness and model the organization's cultural values and attributes. What's more, they must possess and demonstrate innovation, and use it strategically to serve the business's strategy."

While the chief human resource officer job description, once centered on stewardship for essential administrative functions, you can see that it is now transforming into a role of strategist. The chief human resource officer works in tandem with the chief executive officer and other business leaders to determine how to best use their talent-base to create new products and services, as well as encourage new strategies. Deloitte Consulting, LLP finds that "Today's chief human resource officers are informing and shaping business strategy - not just supporting it. But these new duties demand some new processes as well." To give you an idea of the elements that make up the chief human resource officer job description, Deloitte lists these key processes that encompass the strategist role of this position:

Contribute to business strategy.

Work with other business leaders to develop enterprise business strategies that make sense in light of global labor trends and the company's existing talent base.

Translate enterprise strategy into global workforce requirements.

Develop workforce plans and programs that align with the company's overall strategic objectives.

Forecast talent needs.

Assess the workforce's current capabilities. Periodically examine future labor trends and expected vacancies.

Address talent gaps.

Develop a formal plan to attract, develop and deploy global talent. Oversee external recruiting and succession management.

Orchestrate learning skills and career development.

Find the right mix of development programs to satisfy the company's unique requirements. Key performance measures include:

  • Bench depth/breadth ratios
  • High-potential turnover rate
  • Strength of employment brand

What It Takes to Be a Chief Human Resource Officer

The exact specifications for the chief human resource officer will differ slightly from company to company. However, on SalaryExpert.com, an affiliate of ERI Economic Research Institute, the chief human resource officer job description is defined as follows:

Plans, develops, establishes, implements, and administers the personnel and human resource management function in accordance with objectives of organization. Directs human resource functions including staffing, employee orientation, education, and training, management development, employee and labor relations, affirmative action compliance, policies and procedures, workers compensation administration, wage and salary administration, benefits administration, organization development, and employee assistance. Directs staff personnel who assist in identifying, evaluating, and resolving human relations and work performance problems within establishment to facilitate communication and improve employee human relations skills and work performance. Typically reports to the chief executive officer or the chief operations officer; and human resource director may report to this position.

Confers with organization officials to plan business objectives, to develop organizational policies, and to coordinate specific functions. Functions may include safety and health and security. Talks informally with establishment personnel and attends meetings to facilitate effective interpersonal communication among participants and to ascertain human relations and work-related problems that adversely affect employee morale and establishment productivity. Evaluates human relations and work-related problems and meets with supervisors, managers, and executives to determine effective remediation techniques, such as job skill training or personal intervention, to resolve human relations issues among personnel. Responsible for training to instruct establishment managers, supervisors, and workers in human relation skills, such as supervisory skills, conflict resolution skills, interpersonal communication skills, and effective group interaction skills. May approve individuals for technical job-related skills training to improve individual work performance. May have responsibility for labor contract negotiations.

The Next Step Toward Becoming a Chief Human Resources Officer

While you will need to have experience, there is one important step to becoming a chief human resource officer. The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM ®) reports that, much like general management careers can be significantly enhanced with a graduate degree, so can those in the field of HR management. Having your Master's degree in HR with coursework in organizational development, organizational behavior or other specialty can greatly improve your likelihood of attaining a position as a chief human resource officer.

Fernán R. Cepero, PHR ®, Vice President and Chief Human Resource Officer of the YMCA of Greater Rochester recommends taking the next step. Cepero says, "Grow, learn, change and evolve! Never let yourself get comfortable in one functional role - purposely seek out breadth and depth in academic endeavors and career pursuits. This approach developed my business acumen, sharpened my human resource competencies and took me on a journey from entry-level generalist at a Fortune 500 company to chief human resource officer for one of the largest nonprofit agencies in North America."

Gain the Expertise You Need to Advance Your HR Career - Online

You can distinguish yourself and enhance your HR career by earning your Master of Science in Human Resource Development from Villanova University entirely online. This acclaimed program prepares you to excel in the field of human resources and organizational development with a comprehensive review of key topics every HR leader must know.

Proven video-based learning technology eliminates the common barriers of time and location, enabling you to enroll in the institution U.S. News & World Report has ranked as the #1 Master's University in the Northern Region for 20 years. As a student in Villanova's HR master's degree program, you'll master core human resource competencies, while focusing on developmental, strategic and global issues. Engaging online courses empower you with the latest tools, proven processes and best practices across a range of key topics, including organizational change, human resource planning, compensation, international human resources, organizational training and project management for HR professionals. Best of all, you'll earn your industry-recognized master's in human resource from a top-ranked university at your pace, on your schedule, 100% online - and in less than two years!

Empower yourself to meet or exceed the chief human resource officer job description requirements. You can get on a clear path toward this C-level position by earning your Master of Science in Human Resource Development online from top-ranked Villanova University.