Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO) – definition and example

A chief human resources officer or CHRO is a company’s top executive in charge of the management of human resources. The CHRO is also in charge of developing and creating strategies in that field.

In some companies, people refer to the CHRO as the Chief Personnel Officer or Chief People Officer. We may also call that person the Human Resources Director or Vice President of Human Resources.

Some people write the term using an abbreviation and long-form combination, i.e., Chief HR Officer.

Until a few years ago, the Chief Human Resources Officer would always report to the COO or CFO. COO stands for Chief Operating Officer while CFO stands for Chief Financial Officer.

However, CHROs complained that CFOs and COOs did not have the necessary influence over the other C-level executives.

C-level executives are people whose posts begin with the letter ‘C.’ CEOs, CROs, COO, and CFOs, for example, are C-level executives. The ‘C’ stands for ‘chief.’

Subsequently, the reporting procedure gradually changed, and today most CHROs report to their CEOs. CEO stands for Chief Executive Officer.

Wikipedia has the following definition of the term chief human resources officer:

“A chief human resources officer (CHRO) is a corporate officer who oversees all aspects of human resource management and industrial relations policies, practices and operations for an organization.”

Chief Human Resources Officer - CHRO
According to TechTarget: “Chief human resources officer (CHRO) is a top-level management executive in charge of an organization’s employees. The CHRO is responsible for running an organization’s human capital management and other HR technology systems.”

Chief human resources officer – duties

The chief human resources officer develops HR strategies. HR stands for Human Resources. The CHRO focuses on developing qualified human capital, encouraging employees’ career development, and efficient functioning.

The CHRO also conveys the organization’s plans and visions to senior management.

The chief human resources officer oversees and develops different strategies to maintain and attract talent. In today’s highly competitive marketplace, keeping good staff and recruiting the right employees is vital.

In this context, the ‘marketplacerefers to the market in the abstract sense, i.e., the business environment.

Succession planning is also important as is ensuring that growth opportunities are suitable for each employee.

CHRO – career path

Unlike accounting professionals, there is no direct career path for those aiming for a chief human resources officer position.

However, there are things you can do to improve your chances of one day getting there.

You should try to gain experience in staff recruitment and coaching. In today’s hi-tech environment, you should also be familiar with all relevant technology and software.

Most companies require experience of up to 15 years and a degree in management or a related field.

You should ideally have an MBA or a master’s degree in HR. MBA stands for Master of Business Administration or Masters in Business Administration; the latter example is more common in the UK.

A good CHRO should have good leadership and communication skills. Skills in ethical practices are also important as are global and cultural awareness.