Talent, Data & People: The Strategic CHRO with Kim Sullivan
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We all faced new dynamics and uncharted waters as managers and leaders navigating a pandemic, social unrest and different ways of working. But if you considered the corporate role that felt the most impact, the CHRO, Chief Human Resources Officer, would rank high in terms of the toughest leadership positions over the last few years.
And that’s why this episode is so timely. In this episode, Sally talks to Kim Sullivan, who has been an HR leader for three global companies, and a CHRO for the last six years. Kim guided HR teams pre and post-pandemic, giving her invaluable insight on what’s changing and what lies ahead.
More about Kim Sullivan
With more than 20 years in the HR industry, Kim Sullivan has had an extensive career, including a mix of strong business acumen and the desire to develop people, while also identifying the business drivers and complex issues of every organization she’s worked with. She has experience modernizing the People Solutions (HR) function by implementing new HR service delivery models; redesigning, eliminating, and repositioning roles; and implementing a digital HR strategy to address short and long-term business needs. Kim is a thought leader in all things transformation, including organizational culture. She is passionate about elevating HR team performance to ensure people and culture strategies enable a company’s value agenda. She holds a master’s degree in Human Resources Development from the University of Houston and a bachelor’s degree in Speech Communications and Organizational Psychology from Texas Southern University.
- CHRO – Chief Human Resources Officer
- What has been the change of the CHRO role over the years?
- Typically tucked under the CFO
- There is a heightened need for the CHRO role to be at the table helping to make decisions that support the stratic outcomes for the business
- CHRO in the Global pandemic
- Continued to reflect on the overwhelming impact on the world
- Defining digital transformation
- Moving people from worksites to their homes in three weeks or less
- Keeping the lights on
- CHRO continues to learn from March 2020
- Essential skills to be a CHRO
- Understanding the business and how to business makes money
- How to solve problems that positively impact the organization’s business goal
- Understanding what are the people implications and cultural implications
- Must be talent savvy, biz savvy, data-savvy – how do you use data to make decisions
- Coaching and advising the leadership team
- Engage with leadership and with the frontline staff
- Employee Experience – everything a worker learns, does, sees, and feels at each stage of the employee lifecycle.
- How do companies define reset?
- Hybrid/ Virtual work
- Plan what the “return to the office” looks like for their organization dependent on the organization and employees
- People value flexibility – What is the why, and when should they come together? What happens when they get there?
- Define what roles should be remote, in-person, or hybrid.
- Mid to senior career-level workers feel more productive and focused at home; recent graduates want more in-person networking opportunities but do not want to be in the office every day.
- How to define what is valued as work-life integration?
- Collect data to find what is the desired work style
- Use that data to establish the workplace strategy
- Leadership is culture; culture is leadership.
- Be deliberate about the culture you want to create and who you are as a company.
- Clearly define your values and be intentional about when you come together.
- Define what your employee’s role is, make sure to check in with them, and have systems in place to support them
- Mirror what you say you do as an organization at all levels of the company
- Management needs to be international and consistent
- Stay visible even in remote settings
- Make sure you show up with these values to attract outsiders to your organization
- If you are a people manager today and you are not equally focused on the business and the well-being of your people, you are not doing your job
- The Great Resignation – An ongoing economic trend in which employees have voluntarily resigned from their jobs in large numbers beginning in early 2021 due to low wages, cost of living increase, career advancement, seeking better benefits, and remote work.
- What are essential skills for new leaders?
- How to have fun
- Encourage employees to take time off
- Not celebrating grind culture
- Demonstrating that leaders care about employees
- Prioritizing resources to make sure employees are taken care of. Want employees to be engaged and happy
- DEI – Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
- Employees need to feel included and represented in the workspace
- Is there a talent shortage?
- Value proposition – making people interested in working with your company
- Glassdoor – www.glassdoor.com
- Gig Economy – a labor market characterized by the prevalence of short-term contracts or freelance work as opposed to permanent jobs: Fiver – www.fiverr.com
- How to factor these desires into our work models?
- Determine which jobs can be a gig vs. remote vs. in person
- Work on attracting different nontraditional talent
- Focus on skills, not just job level
- Asynchronous communication- happens over a period of time—rather than immediately.
- Synchronous communication- takes place in real-time.
- Successful organizations invest in talent.
- Company Culture- describes the shared values, goals, attitudes, and practices that characterize an organization
- What is leadership’s role in Company Culture?
- Set the vision
- Clearly define what their desire is for the culture
- Ensure their leadership team has leaders ready to model the behaviors that support your desired culture – a senior leader needs to hold their team accountable
- CHRO role in Company Culture
- Partner with the senior team, and articulate the culture will be
- Help to operationalize the culture through people processes or operational process
- Coaching and being an advisor to the CEO
- Own the measurement of an organization
- People analytics and insights on what is going well vs. not
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