HR and its prominent position

HR plays a very crucial role in any organization. The HR department is solely responsible for bringing in the best and most-suited workforce to any organization However, it’s also a known fact that being on the top seat of the CEO is not an easy task and some of the most intelligent and experienced minds are recruited for this prestigious position. Though one would come across people from varied fields and background holding this top position, a very vital observation is that one does not see HR managers growing into CEOs. The decision maker’s seat is most often occupied by people to either finance or someone with a sound marketing or Technical background.

Being at the top is never easy. To be a successful CEO, the person must be an all-rounder, with hands-on experience, the right exposure and good team management skills as integral traits of his/her personality. Any experienced professional manager can perform the role of a CEO as long as he/she has the relevant exposure, skill and vision. But in reality, usually CEOs emerge from marketing, finance or operational departments and not from the HR vertical. The main reason behind HR mangers not turning into CEOs is probably because HR, even today, is perceived as a department that deals with people only and is misconstrued as someone who does not venture into other functions. HR is indeed the core of a company, but organizations usually prefer to have CEOs from other departments. Though other departments, too, are individualistic in nature most companies make CEOs out of professionals from other verticals and not HR.

HR managers may be lacking the relevant experience and exposure required to be the CEO of their respective companies. The only issue is basically, the responsibility of the CEO is fourfold one is taking care of the investor’s perspective, another is to manage internal activities from a holistic point of view, then there is also the responsibility to monitor all the external activities and the last being growth and innovation. The HR function, on the other hand, is considered to be only people-centric and the general feeling is that they won’t perform other functions to perfection.

An organization is made up by its people and dealing with people and taking care of them is the ultimate responsibility of the HR department. They need to monitor whether their people-management practices are aligned to the organizational objectives and also advice the CEO on matters regarding employees and their best interests. People should do what they are best at. Every designation has a prescribed role and this is decided by HR. If they up the role they have cut out for the CEO, then how will they make these decisions once they are at the top?” To be a successful CEO, one needs to have knowledge about all the nitty-gritty of the company. There is no doubt that HR is highly qualified and can hold a key position in the functionality of an organization. In recent times, the practice of giving this opportunity to HR professionals is slowly catching up and there are quite a few instances where the HR manager of a particular company has reached to the top. There are a lot of HR managers who can make it to driver’s seat, but are not inducted in the mainstream activities. This issue has been discussed time and again in conferences across the globe. In some of the companies, like Larsen & Toubro, HUL etc., Senior Managers from other functions are assigned as ‘Chief’ of HR and after a certain time period promoted to other larger areas of responsibility and some have reached the level of CEO also. Experts feel that though more and more companies will be forthcoming towards this idea of hiring capable HR managers for the position of a CEO, it will however, take a while before the idea is translated into reality.

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