How To Hire a CHRO

CHRO meeting an interviewee

The Chief Human Resource Officer (CHRO) can be one of the most valuable hires who can significantly impact a company’s success.  Properly managing human capital will ensure success as people are the most valuable asset of any company.  Perhaps you have heard of other titles such as Chief People Officer or Vice President of Human Resources.  For this discussion, we are referring to the top HR position in the company.  You may not know what a CHRO does or how to hire a CHRO.  But don’t worry, CHROs are one of my specialties in recruitment.  I have a wealth of knowledge, tips, and best practices to share with you on how to hire a CHRO.

What is a CHRO?

The Chief Human Resource Officer (CHRO) is the most senior leader in charge of human resources in a business.  Given the wide range of industries such as manufacturing, technology, energy, or life sciences, the specific skills and experience you need in your next CHRO may differ enormously from what is required in a different company.

Often, a CHRO needs to have specialist industry knowledge and experience to perform the best in your industry.  However, hiring from other but relevant industries brings innovative ideas from different backgrounds and perspectives.  This can help give you a competitive & innovative advantage in your approach to HR.  Much is dependent on where your company is in its evolution and what is needed to get it to the next level.

What are examples of what CHRO is responsible for?

  • HR Department leadership
  • People Strategy
  • Hiring talent
  • Compensation & bonus structures for employees
  • Employee KPIs
  • Employer compliance
  • Employee development
  • Employee well being
  • Employee Retention
  • Communicating company mission and vision
  • Communication between employees and executive level
  • Championing diversity, equity, and inclusion

How to Compensate a CHRO?

A CHROs Base Salary in the USA ranges from $180,268 to $339,484, with a median of $251,470. Including bonuses, that range is $204,122 – $489,237 with a median of $324,060. And the median total compensation is $416,591.

Benefits in the USA often include social security, 401k/403b, disability, healthcare, pension, and time off.

In The UK CHRO salaries range generally from £89,481 to £333,713 with a median of £190,579.

In Germany, CHRO salaries range generally from €129,759 to €254,194 with a median of €188,111.

The main factors leading to the different compensation levels differ greatly on the CHRO’s relevant experience, education, certifications, and years in the role.

Executive Search Firms Can help value new hires from their experience and aid you in establishing a competitive compensation package.

chro hiring contract

Best practises on how to hire a CHRO

When hiring a CHRO, there are some important considerations for you to make.  Depending on your industry, region, and business objectives, here are my top pieces of advice on hiring an HR leader.

Plan ahead

Hiring the right CHRO for your business will be a challenge.  If you want to be confident in your hire, you’ll want to see what is out there and meet a range of talent to help you and your search team understand what you need and want in your CHRO.  This will all take time, and why I suggest starting early, ideally six months before if possible.  On average, it takes 76 days to replace a C-level executive that leaves on short notice (that notice period being, on average, three days!)

Taking your time to find new talent will always ensure you get the best result.  Being well organized will help you be more confident and enable the people involved to carry out their normal duties without being distracted by the hiring process.  This is also why I suggest using an executive search firm, as they can manage the whole process on your behalf.  This allows the CEO, COO, CFO and the Board to stay focused on their core duties of leading and running the business.

Develop a Search Team

Your search team should involve representatives from your c-suite, board of directors, and your most senior HR personnel currently in place.  You can get their input and lead the discussion on the CHRO hire.  This group will help you make less biased decisions while also making a clear picture of what is needed emerges.  The success of the CHRO will be felt across all departments, so input from relevant stakeholders is warranted.

If you intend to carry out a confidential search, your search team will need to be smaller.  It will need the assistance of a partner from an executive search firm to aid in the search due to the difficulty in finding candidates and approaching them in a way that does not alert the current standing CHRO.

If you are looking for more advice about this topic or help to carry out a confidential search for your next head of human resources, please contact me!  I’ll either make sure to write more content about it.  If your need is urgent, I can help you in conjunction with a partner who specializes in human resources.  Boyden has a dedicated HR Practice group with members from all over the world. Making it a go-to CHRO executive search firm.

Define your business goals

Agreeing on why, what for, and how to hire your next CHRO as a team is fundamental to a successful hiring process.  To do this, you need to establish your business goals.  Are you aiming to restructure/ cut staffing costs?  Are you hoping to onboard lots more staff and expand fast?  Are you hoping to get more efficiency out of your current team?  Or are you trying to reduce your employee turnover?

As a team, you must identify the main HR issues you perceive and how they might need to change to help your business go into its next phase to properly assess what your next CHRO hire should be experienced in.

Incorporating the overarching goals of the CEO & Board of Directors in the following years will help identify the criteria needed in a new CHRO.  Someone who will ensure the success of these goals.

Develop a list of wants, needs and do not wants for your next CHRO

As well as business goals, core competencies will be needed.   Talk to your search consultant if you don’t have a draft job description for the role.  They are an excellent resource to help you flush out the critical elements needed in an HR leader.  An open conversation with you will help speed up the process and ensure you quickly get down to the essence of the role.

Work with an executive search firm

When Hiring a CHRO, I strongly recommend working with an executive search firm. Contact me if you need to be connected with one.) Due to the high niche requirements required by each business for their CHRO, having experienced recruiters to help you navigate the hiring process is key.  They will find multiple world-class candidates that fit your business requirements quickly and will minimize the distraction to your leadership.

Furthermore, executive recruiters who specialize in HR will quickly understand your needs and work quickly to find your next CHRO.  Firms like Boyden leverage their current and past experience finding CHROs in all corners of the world.

Working as Managing Partner at Boyden, I can help or connect you to one of my colleagues in the country of your need to aid in your search. So please contact me if you would like some help.

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