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October 2016

3 Reasons CEOs Fire CHROs and How You Can Protect Your Human Resources Job

Research shows that heads of human resources typically rank in the top three “most likely to get fired” among Silicon Valley tech executives. But why is that?

Sometimes the CEO is at fault, sometimes the CHRO is to blame, and sometimes it just doesn’t work out for typical reasons. Regardless, here is what you need to look out for when considering a new human resources position.

Three Common Reasons CEOs Fire CHROs

  1. The CEO is not engaged with the recruiting process. Some CEOs believe that simply hiring a new CHRO is all it takes to improve company culture and strengthen the hiring process. While hiring an experienced head of human resources is an obvious step in the right direction, it doesn’t mean that the leader of the company can wash her hands of the entire situation. The CEO must be willing to partner with the CHRO; she must be willing to devote time and energy to support the department.
  2. The CEO does not take responsibility. Too often, CEOs deflect blame to the head of HR regarding issue like employee turnover, even if that human resources exec has no control over the factors causing turnover in the first place. While the talent acquisition team should take some of the responsibility, pointing fingers is never a solution. Rather, the CEO and CHRO should join forces to address the issue.
  3. The chemistry just isn’t there. Sometimes there is simply a disparity in personalities and goals between the CEO and HR leader. Maybe the CEO was looking for a recruiting advisor, but the CHRO is a benefits expert. A recent survey by Robert Half revealed that 36% of 1,400 executives felt the top factor leading to a failed hire, aside from performance issues, is a poor skills match. It is not uncommon to find a mismatch between what the CEO is looking for and what the head of human resources has to offer.

How to Protect Your Job

  1. Work with a strong executive placement agency. Good human resources executive search firms will be honest about the position for which you are applying. They will make sure you and the company or CEO are a good match.
  2. Establish clear communication with the CEO. Make sure ahead of time that the CEO is ready, willing and able to be a true partner. Discuss the importance of collaboration, cooperation, and support, particularly in regards to making tough decisions.
  3. Negotiate a good package. For your own sake, make sure you can secure a good compensation package to counter the risk you may be taking. A severance of 12 to 18 months is preferable, just in case it is necessary.

As many as 57% of organizations view employee retention as a major problem today, which is why CEOs are often in a hurry to get a new CHRO on board. Statistics show that at the end of June 2015, 2.7 million workers voluntarily left their jobs, marking a 25% increase compared to two years earlier.

A simple fix to this growing problem? Take your time to find the right job for you. And if you're the one making hiring decisions, don't rush in your search for the perfect human resources executive.