Boyden Survey Finds Top HR Executives’ Influence on the Rise in C-Suites and Boards

NEW YORK and FRANKFURT, June 26 2019 – Nearly three-quarters (73%) of Chief Human Resources Officers and HR executives say the CHRO will increasingly take on strategic roles, while 75% believe CHROs will take on key strategic roles as counselors to the CEO, C-Suite and board, according to a new survey released today by Boyden, a premier talent and leadership advisory firm.

Part 2 of the report, Boyden Senior Executive Survey: The CHRO and the Future Organization, titled The CHRO Role in the C-Suite and Board, looks at the global changes and opportunities connected to tech, including people strategy, approaches to the board and management, global workforce alignment, hiring and training.

“A good CEO is, in many ways, dependent on a good CHRO,” said Jörg KastenChairman of Boyden and a Managing Partner of Boyden Germany. “The role of HR has shifted. We’re not just talking about people; we’re talking about new technology, diversity and other important elements of the workplace.”

“The impact and influence of the CHRO on strategic decision-making depends on their individual personality and skill portfolio,” said Jeff Hodge, a Managing Partner of Boyden United States. “Acceptance by both team members and upper management are key.” As Robert Winterhalter outlines “Talent allocation becomes as powerful as financial allocation. Therefore the company’s core team, the CEO, CFO and CHRO, will improve the way of working together”.

The survey included a global panel of 310 CHROs, senior HR executives and other HR decision makers across all industries in the United States, Germany, United Kingdom, Canada, Mexico, Brazil and Australia. Additional key findings related to the impact of the CHRO role include:

Influence of CHRO

  • Globally, almost all (95%) of those surveyed find the CHRO to be influential, with 54% finding the CHRO very influential.
  • 90% of those surveyed in Latin America believe the CHRO is evolving in a more strategic direction in terms of C-Suite and board influence, while those in North America (71%), the UK (68%) and Germany (62%) believe the CHRO has growing impact, albeit to a lesser degree.

“The long economic crisis in Brazil has forced organizations to design and implement strategic plans that comprised many significant change management efforts and other organizational actions, many of which have been led by HR executives,” explains Aurea Imai, a Managing Partner of Boyden Brazil.

“The increasing global battle for talent will also help ensure that the role of the HR professional is likely to gain importance in the medium term,” said Dr. Michael Pütz, Senior Vice President, Human Resources, Harting Group. “In my own experience, hardly any board meeting is conducted without HR topics being discussed. This is different than 10 years ago.”

CHRO as Path to CEO

  • Most (89%) HR executives agree that the CHRO role will become a stepping stone to executive leadership positions such as CEO, with 42% in strong agreement.
  • HR executives in professional services (91%) and education (92%) are more likely to view the CHRO as a stepping stone to the CEO role than those in industrials and financial services (79%).

“When a business’s main asset is people,” remarked Anna Mitchell, Business, Change and Communications Consultant and former Managing Director, Global Online Business, Coats. “It absolutely makes sense to see the CHRO as a potential path to CEO.”

“The CHRO has influence and plays a significant role in organizational strategy,” said Birger Svendsen, Managing Partner, Boyden Norway and EMEA Leader, Human Resources Practice. “This influence will continue to increase over the next few years and puts tremendous pressure on the CHRO to deliver.”

The Boyden report’s third and final installment, Diversity of People and Thought, will be released next month.


For Boyden
Dan Margolis
T: +1 213 452-6472

Boyden Germany
Jan Böhler
T: +44 7519102970

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