HR Must Influence to Succeed
Thoughts from Think Tank 2014
By Chris Powell, CTHRA’s HR Advisor

On April 1st and 2nd, senior-level HR executives from across the cable industry convened in New York City for CTHRA’s Think Tank for HR Executives. This event always focuses on critical and emerging topics, and this year’s dialog centered on defining the HR role relative to an ever-morphing marketplace, workplace and workforce expectations.

The discussion was led by Patrick Wright, Ph.D., Thomas C. Vandiver Bicentennial Chair in the Darla Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina, who teaches, conducts research and consults in the area of Strategic Human Resource Management, particularly focusing on how firms use people as a source of competitive advantage and the changing nature of the Chief HR Officer (CHRO) role. From his research, Dr. Wright identified that there are seven roles a CHRO has at any given time.

Strategic Advisor to the Executive Team: Activities focused specifically on the formulation and implementation of the firm’s strategy.

Counselor/Confidante/Coach to the Executive Team: Activities focused on counseling or coaching team members or resolving interpersonal or political conflicts among team members.

Liaison to the Board of Directors: Preparation for board meetings, phone calls with board members, attendance at board meetings.

Talent Architect/Strategist: Activities focused on building and identifying the human capital critical to the present and future of the firm.

Leader of the HR Function: Working with HR team members regarding the development, design and delivery of HR services.

Workforce Sensor: Activities focused on identifying workforce morale issues or concerns.

Representative of the Firm: Activities with external stakeholders, such as lobbying, speaking to outside groups, etc.
In some cases, the multiple roles an HR leader plays can lead to role confusion and stakeholder conflict.  To mitigate these types of issues, Dr. Wright recommends three critical skills that HR leaders need to possess to be effective in their role and deliver value to company and HR function: influencing the organization, influencing decisions and influencing people.

During the Think Tank, Dr. Wright went further and stated that HR leaders need to be active participants in and contributors to forming, facilitating and guiding the strategy for the organization.  He cited that if HR was simply executing bad orders it could be catastrophic for the company.  Dr. Wright reiterated the importance of HR leaders to have courage to move from order takers to influencers. 


Do you agree that HR must move from order takers to influencers?

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