Why CEO Candidates Should Try Working In Human Resources

Managing people is one of the hardest, yet most rewarding, and most important pieces of running a successful company. You can’t have a CFO that doesn’t know profit and loss, and you can’t have a CTO that doesn’t know how to code. You can’t have a successful CEO without knowing how to manage a workforce.

Here’s what Dave Hoff of Wilmington Biz says:

“In my opinion, an HR assignment shouldn’t be a candidate’s first or second job out of college or an MBA program. It should be when he or she is midway through a career. These folks, who are seen as having the highest potential in your organization, need to have this experience and then a few more roles where they can put what they’ve learned into practice.

The time our high potentials spend in HR should be focused on organizational development and talent management. What could someone learn in HR that would prove useful back in the operating organization?

  1. Competencies. What is the process the organization uses to define behavioral competencies in particular? How are these competencies deployed in talent acquisition and succession planning?
  2. Talent Acquisition. This means being involved in the creation and use of pre-employment tests and assessments to determine who you let in your organization. CEO candidates need to understand how a rigorous process will yield the very best talent.
  3. Development Planning. CEOS should be able to determine the competencies needed to perform a role and how to craft a measurable plan that will accelerate development.
  4. Succession Planning. Knowing how to use the assessment information gathered on employees is integral to talent discussions with senior managers. These need to be fact-based, not opinion-based discussions.
  5. The Role of Organization Development in Change Management. CEOs must understand how to involve sponsors and stakeholders in keeping a project on track, and the role of communication in these projects. Someone must be paying attention to the process for a major initiative to be successful.

These are just a few benefits that an organization could reap from having a CEO who has HR experience. After a few years in HR, a CEO will know the right questions to ask his line and staff employees to get succession talent ready when needed and to accelerate the development of other key employees. It is time we changed our paradigm about the importance of HR to business.”