How To Become a Chief Human Resources Officer in 5 Steps

The future of HR is rapidly evolving as technology does, which means that the core role of the Chief Human Resources Officer is changing too. Successful Chief Human Resources Officers have to be true strategic advisors to their business and drive organizational performance through HR strategy. This requires a unique mix of competencies, education, and experience. What are the key skills you should be developing to become a Chief Human Resources Officer? And why are these essential today and in the future world of work? Let’s dive in!

Chief human resources officers typically need to obtain a bachelor’s degree in human resource management. This helps to fully equip students for jobs in the HR field. You’ll learn indispensable skills in employment law, technology, project management, and workforce planning that will shape your career as a CHRO.

The Role of the Chief Human Resources Officer in a Transformation

What does a chief human resources officer do?

As a central figure in the administrative side of their organization, the chief human resources officer has several important responsibilities. Here are some of the main duties a CHRO has in the workplace:

What is a chief human resources officer?

A chief human resources officer (CHRO) is a professional whose primary responsibilities are to take a leadership role in the HR department of a company or organization. They oversee entire HR departments, where they manage several aspects of the employment process, such as recruiting, hiring, acquiring benefits, training and employee relations. The CHRO usually has an extensive background in human resources and management-related roles, giving them the necessary expertise to lead such vast departments. They frequently work alongside executives, such as the chief executive officer (CEO) or chief financial officer (CFO), to provide employee-based insights on prospective company-wide decisions.

Skills of a chief human resources officer

The role of a chief human resources officer involves a substantial amount of responsibility and expertise in the field of HR. Here are some of the most common skills a chief human resources officer can have:

Leadership

Leadership is an important skill for a chief human resources officer, as they are in charge of the entire HR department at their company or organization. As they oversee human resources activities, they need leadership skills to encourage, instruct and serve as a resource to their junior HR employees. The CHRO ensures that their department can meet the needs and rights of their employees throughout every step of their employment journey, from the start of recruitment to their exit from the company.

Organization

The CHRO handles several aspects of the human resources department, where they manage multiple HR employees, oversee projects and develop new strategies for HR procedures such as recruiting, hiring and training. Its important that they remain as organized as possible to ensure that all elements of HR processes are in order. Its also necessary that they stay organized to keep track of various meetings throughout their day-to-day procedures, which can be with executives, HR staff or standard employees.

Communication

Communication is a necessary skill for various occupations, but especially for those occupying the role of chief human resources officer. The CHRO communicates frequently with HR staff, executives and other employees to discuss important work-related topics such as workplace conflict, hiring and training procedures. They may also send out company-wide newsletters and memos that inform employees of important HR-related updates and procedures, such as changes in benefits, work hours or restructuring of the companys management.

Creativity

A chief human resources officer can use creativity throughout several elements of their work duties, especially when it comes to developing and implementing company culture-related activities. With their extensive background in HR strategies, the CHRO can work alongside other HR staff to create incentives and team-building activities that work to boost productivity and company-wide morale. The CHRO can also use creativity when giving presentations to employees, where they can incorporate different forms of media and activities that can make learning about new procedures or regulations more enjoyable.

Legal knowledge

Its a general expectation that the CHRO of a company has extensive knowledge regarding work-related legalities and protocols. As most CHROs have a minimum of a masters education in human resources, they typically have a strong understanding of the different laws involving workers rights, such as enforcing reasonable work hours, mandatory breaks and ensuring that employees working overtime receive compensation for their labor. Its common for executives within an organization to meet with CHROs to discuss legalities and procedures necessary for remaining within the confines of the law.

How to become a chief human resources officer

Here are some steps you can follow to start your path toward a career as a chief human resources officer:

1. Earn a bachelors degree

The first step toward becoming a chief human resources officer is to enroll in and complete a bachelors degree. Many CHROs have an extensive academic background which most frequently begins with a four-year degree, usually in human resources or a related field, such as social work or business administration. A typical bachelors degree in these disciplines can take anywhere from three to five years depending on the program.

2. Complete an HR internship

The next step in becoming a CHRO is to complete an internship, either during or after completing your bachelors degree. Human resources departments frequently hire temps (or temporary employees) in the form of interns to assist with many of the more intricate HR-related tasks, such as onboarding, filing and scheduling. An internship in human resources can boost your hiring potential by giving you additional workplace experience and introducing you to professionals in the field of HR.

3. Get HR certification

Please note that none of the companies or certifications mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

4. Earn a masters degree in HR

Due to the vast responsibilities of a CHRO, its common for companies to require candidates to hold a masters degree in human resources in order to qualify for the position. There are several masters programs in HR available across the country, with many offering virtual schooling options for those working while they pursue their degree. A typical masters program in human resources can take anywhere from one to four years depending on the program and your credentials, with the average being about two years.

5. Work your way up to a CHRO position

Once youve earned all of your academic and experience-based credentials, the final step in becoming a chief human resources officer is to work your way up to a senior HR position. Upon earning a masters degree, you can likely find a full-time job as an HR representative at a company or organization, where you can demonstrate your skills and expertise in the field of human resources. Its important to produce quality work during this time to encourage your chances of earning promotions and eventually having enough experience to qualify for a position as a chief human resources officer.

Who does a chief human resources officer oversee?

Heres a breakdown of the different positions that a chief human resources officer oversees as part of their primary responsibilities, especially if they work for a large-scale company with an extensive HR department:

FAQ

How do you become chief HR?

Chief human resources officers typically need to obtain a bachelor’s degree in human resource management. This helps to fully equip students for jobs in the HR field. You’ll learn indispensable skills in employment law, technology, project management, and workforce planning that will shape your career as a CHRO.

How do you become a chief officer?

Usually, a bachelor’s degree in human resources or a related discipline is required to become a Chief People Officer, while some companies will require a master’s degree as well. The standard duration of a bachelor’s degree is 4 years, while the completion of a master’s program will be 1-2 years.

What qualifications do you need to be a HR officer?

You’ll need:
  • administration skills.
  • knowledge of human resources and employment law.
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail.
  • the ability to work well with others.
  • the ability to monitor your own performance and that of your colleagues.
  • excellent written communication skills.
  • business management skills.

Is CHRO higher than CEO?

No surprise: CEOs and COOs are the highest-paid executives. But CHROs are next, with an average base pay of $574,000—33% more than CMOs, the lowest earners on the list.

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