Sometimes I’m tempted to just apply to jobs that I’m completely unqualified for and explain it by saying, “LinkedIn made me do it.”
Based on the fact I write a lot about marketing, advertising and the tools to do it, for example, it’s not uncommon for LinkedIn to recommend roles for me such as “Director of Marketing,” or even Vice-President in some cases. Although I also offer content marketing services to brands, I have no business running a marketing team. Of course, an algorithm makes these kinds of mistakes, which is why we need chief human resources officers (CHROs) and their teams to ensure the personal touch in developing and recruiting the right employees remains strong.
This is probably where a lot of HR execs would rather spend their time, rather than juggling questions about health benefits and goading managers to get a move on with their annual performance reviews. The opportunity to bring greater automation to many of those activities has been a digital transformation unto itself in some organizations, where everything from hiring to layoffs can be initiated, monitored and evaluated based on how it affects the overall health of the business.
Cynics would say there’s no danger of HR replacing itself with artificial intelligence (AI) or other technologies, but the real reason CHRO roles have been elevated is the increased emphasis on nurturing the right corporate culture. Those who do this well don’t necessarily need to change their title to “chief people officer,” but they might need a little extra help determining their long-term career path.
A recent article from Gallup, for example, outlines arguments that suggest CHROs should be considered worthy of taking on the top job, given their exposure to all levels of the corporate hierarchy and their considerable influence.
“Leading people should not be a reward; it should be a responsibility that requires talent and training. And that training must include expertise in the most important part of any organization — its people,” the article said. “The ability to organize a company and necessary people to form these faster teams can only be done by those most familiar with an organization’s talent and the principles of behavioral economics — often the CHRO.”
There’s an additional wrinkle specific to CHROs in B2B, which is the need to drive brand awareness around potential recruits and position their firm as the employer of choice in a given market. This is incredibly difficult in a sector like martech, where there are only few truly household names (think Adobe and Microsoft) that are best known for their consumer products.
B2B CHROs need to create an HR department that can not only provide a pipeline of talent and skills in highly specific areas, but employees who will get excited about serving customers who are other businesses. That will require a special kind of marketing — on that remains on brand while aligning with the key performance indicators associated with a variety of roles and organizational objectives.
We’re going to look for ideas and inspiration on how this is done this month in ‘The CHRO Issue.” Given how competitive it’s becoming to find, attract and keep the sort of people B2B firms need, those leading human resources are arguably going to have to be more resourceful than ever before.
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