What CFOs Need From CHROs

The C-suite has evolved to include a variety of partners working at the highest levels to improve their organization. One of the newest entrants is the chief human resources officer (CHRO).

The CEO defines and articulates the company strategy. The chief financial officer (CFO) oversees the financial capital and resources to ensure that strategy can be funded profitably. And, now the CHRO is on board to translate the strategy to internal and external stakeholders through people and change management.

Delivering on that need requires an integrated approach and close relationships, especially with the CFO. We spoke to human resources leaders about what’s needed to maximize this relationship.

A Plan for Proactivity

The CHRO is responsible for all of the organization’s talent, and proactive planning can make it easier for them to manage workforce concerns.

A plan to automate routine HR functions and use artificial intelligence in recruitment can help. This ensures your best talent is available to respond to immediate concerns for staff or potential hires.

“Some of the most practical elements every CHRO needs in their arsenal include internal and external resources to automate all administrative and routine HR functions, such as onboarding, benefits, talent administration and more,” says Carolina King, chief people officer for Lucas Group.

A Share of Needed Resources

CFOs know how to manage budgets, but they may not have experience allocating HR resources beyond hiring. The CHRO will need to be prepared to ask for the technology investments they need, as well.

“Many CHROs are timid about asking for too much because the position is so new and its relationship to the CEO or CFO is uncertain,” says Dan Macklin, U.S. CEO for Salary Finance. “You’re a part of the leadership team and need to step up to meet well-defined needs of your talent.”

King says CHROs need to come to the budget process early and armed. “They must ensure they receive the same internal resource spend akin to IT and marketing,” she says.

The Power to Take Charge

Leadership partners often want CHROs to take charge and secure what they need to improve the workforce. The difference between a CHRO and an HR manager is the ability for the CHRO to implement change as needed to improve the organization, without always securing permission beforehand.

“For instance, CHROs should ask CFOs for the empowerment to introduce free or low-cost benefits to employees without asking for permission every time,” Macklin says. “This would speed up the benefit approval and implementation time, allowing the CHRO to shape the employee benefits package better.”

All three of these elements are about the CHRO acknowledging their expertise and being more willing to use it. “CHROs know their audience better than CFOs. CFOs only need to be involved when the cost associated with offering a new benefit is higher,” Macklin says.