CEO Considerations

Human resources and corporate hierarchy concept - recruiter complete team by one leader person (CEO) represented by gold cube and icon.

When we think of best practices for purposes of recruitment and selection, the following items are usually included during the candidate selection process:

  • Evidence of previous performance
  • Evidence of required skills
  • Evidence of required attributes

All of this helps the Human Resources professional guide the recruitment process through objective, evidence-based criteria in order to ensure a fair process for everyone involved.

When embarking on the recruitment process for the organization’s CEO, it would seem that these best practices would be more important than ever. When recruiting for the top job, should the recruiter not be using their top practices and procedures?

Apparently not.

According to a recent article posted in Canadian Business, some strategic recruitment best practices need to be set aside in order to get the right person into the most senior of the organization’s roles.

Chance and luck seem to take priority over traditional recruitment strategies.

Click here to read the article.

The concept that past behaviour predicts future behaviour may not apply when looking at the organizational performance record of the CEO candidate. The article argues that past organizational performance may have nothing to do with the individual and everything to do with chance. Further, the fact that the typical tenure for a CEO is around four years indicates that the role has much less time to influence the organization’s success for the long term. This would leave a good news/bad news scenario for the person coming into the role of CEO.

If the incoming CEO inherits an organizational mess, they do not have enough to clean it up. If they inherit a smoothly running system, they do not have enough time to mess it up.

Having said that, the article goes on to state that luck also comes into play. The CEO recruitment process appears to depend on who is in the right place at the right time for consideration based on where the information sits in a headhunter’s database.

Perhaps the takeaway from all of this is that the organization is bigger than the CEO and therefore a ‘bigger’ approach is needed when looking to fill the top position.

At this level, relying on luck and chance seems a risky game to play.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Do you agree with the contents of this article? Why or why not?
  2. What could you do as a professional headhunter to reduce the risks of luck and chance when recruiting for a CEO?
  3. Which recruitment best practices do you think would be most important for selecting someone into the role of CEO?

Chipping In?

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Africa Studio/Shutterstock

We microchip our pets. Looks like it’s time to microchip our people.

Human chip tracking systems have arrived. This technology is already implanted, implemented and being used in the workplace around the world.

Click Here to Read the Article and Watch the Clip

From the perspective of a ‘bio-hacker,’ the introduction of a microchip under the skin for employees seems to be a logical thing. An implanted RFID appears to make a human’s work-life easier by allowing for automatic interaction with numerous electronic devices. Employees can access the ‘internet of things’ without needing to remember passcodes in their brains or carry key-cards on their persons. Opening locked doors, turning on the computer or accessing a code-only photocopier now requires a simple swipe of one’s hand near the device and, presto, it works! It works because each microchip is coded with the individual employee’s personal identification.

Bio-devices such as microchips can measure and track anything and anyone.

This is where the ethical boundaries may start to become a bit fuzzy. If an implanted microchip is used by employees to access employer devices, it surely can be used by the employer to access and track employee behaviour.

When our pets get lost, they can be found thanks to microchip technology. When an employee is ‘lost,’ or absent from work for an unknown reason, will an employer resist the temptation to track the absent employee’s whereabouts through similar human microchip technology?

As HR professionals, we need to be ready to deal with the moral and ethical impact of this type of interactive and intrusive technology, today.

After all, we will be swiping open the doors to a very brave new world, tomorrow.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What types of employee tracking would benefit an employer using human microchip technology to monitor the workforce?
  2. Would you agree to have a microchip implanted in your hand as a condition of employment? Why or why not?
  3. What types of benefits are there for employees to have implanted microchip technology?


Faster, Better, Cheaper – Really?

Outsourcing concept with hand pressing social icons on blue world map background.
Mathias Rosenthal/Shutterstock

“Optus cut jobs by outsourcing HR and finance teams.”

How can outsourcing HR and finance staff, in order to cut costs, be a sound organizational decision? For HR professionals, the headline in the article for this particular blog topic brings up some key strategic questions.

Click here to read the article.

First and foremost, the decision to cut jobs is financial. Given that the biggest expenditure on a corporate balance sheet is usually employee compensation, it is a natural correlation to make – cut the biggest expenditure to curtail the financial losses.

It is, however, a deceptively easy solution that does not always produce the desired result.

In this particular article, the outsourced HR functions are in the areas of data analytics and trend analysis. These data management tools are used by HR to promote organizational and business systems decisions and sound strategic planning. If HR is to deliver value on these strategic functions, of course, the search for the ‘fastest, cheapest, best’ solutions should be an ongoing part of strategic evaluation. These are critical functions that HR should be driving in order to provide technology based solutions that contribute to lines of business success and organizational growth.

Outsourcing routine, technology-based processes seems to offer an easy solution. It may be ‘easier’ but, as a long-term sustainable solution, it too may miss the mark in supporting organizational success.

On the other hand, digital systems integration and data-management platforms can harness the technical complexities of critical HR systems. Automated processes can be implemented internally to produce significant cost-savings and improve operational results.

Outsourcing appears to be a cheap and fast solution. Is it the right solution? In this case, we do not have the full account of facts and insights behind this specific organizational decision.

It does, however, emphasize the need for HR to understand and monitor technology-based systems. Further, HR must have an active voice as part of data based operational processes so that outsourcing any function (including HR) comes as one alternative in a range of sustainable solutions.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Why do you think Optus is choosing to outsource as the preferred solution in this case?
  2. Identify four HR administrative functions that can be automated using current technology based solutions.
  3. As an HR professional, what advice will you give to Optus about the impact of outsourcing on employee engagement and morale?
  4. What decisions would you make about outsourcing HR functions in this particular case?

Coaching for Best Practice

Team of paper doll people holding hands

One of the many joys that come from working as a Human Resources professional is learning how to stay open to opportunities that spur personal growth. Every day, the practice of Human Resources is a little bit different given the variety of connections and communications we have with others. Through these connections and contacts, we can make the choice to foster learning and improve our own HR practice by reflecting critically on our views and actions in interpersonal organizational behaviour.

How can we improve our own HR practice so that we can help improve the organizational practice of others?

The concepts embedded in coaching may provide us with some simple steps to include as part of our individual HR practices. In his article, Six Coaching Tips for Your Organization, Charles Qabazard outlines six techniques for effective coaching that translate directly to effective HR practices.

Click here to read the article.

In any organization, the Human Resources function involves listening, asking questions, focusing on solutions, goal orientation, cultural awareness and follow up. Each of these six techniques, on their own, seems pretty simple. When they are pulled together by the thoughtful HR professional, they become powerful coaching tools that elevate the credibility and the role of HR in any setting. In order to be an effective organizational coach for others, we need to ensure that our own coaching skills are in practice every day.

HR practice really does make HR perfect!

Discussion Questions:

  1. Of the six effective coaching techniques, which one is the most important to you?
  2. How does cultural awareness improve the practice of HR?
  3. How do you ensure that you are perceived as a credible professional?
  4. If you were to advise your current boss on these six techniques, which one would you emphasize for organizational improvement?

Measuring What is Needed


Image of young businesswoman sitting on chair under spot of light
Sergey Nivens/Shutterstock

The Human Resources professional’s role is not always in the organizational spotlight. That space is reserved for the organizational leader. Once in the spotlight, all of the characteristics of the leader are highlighted, from both a positive and a negative perspective. In either case, there is increased focus on the need for the leader to improve upon any perceived negative leadership traits in order to increase the level of positive leadership.


Where then should the focus be in order to support positive leadership development?

We need to let the statistics do the talking.

As noted in a recent article provided by the Society for Human Resource Management, there is an alarming rate of leadership development programs resulting in failure for the very leaders these programs are intended to assist.

Why? The statistics seem to indicate that the professional development being provided is not in line with the practical needs of the leader. What is needed by the leader is not what is evaluated by the organization. Evaluation comes with measuring real results and adjusting the organizational course when it is clear that those results do not meet organizational needs.

Click here to read the article.

The article raises an important distinction between ‘edu-trainment’ and true learning based on objective measures for the development of sustainable leadership capabilities. The Human Resources role is integral in maintaining learning programs where results are intentional, observable and measurable, ensuring the right kind of leadership development programs for all leadership roles within the organization.

As Human Resources professionals, we have the capacity to observe what is needed outside of the glare of the spotlight. From that perspective, we can see what is real; where the problems are; discern the difference between insipid inspiration and true leadership competencies; and establish learning outcomes for leaders that are measurable and sustainable. The Human Resources professional has the capacity and the obligation to ensure that valid organizational metrics are established. These should evaluate leadership development through a direct connection to the performance of employees and the results of the organization that the leader serves.

Human Resources will have its time in the spotlight when it is needed. In the meantime, there is always leadership work to be designed and done.

Discussion Questions:

  1. From your reading of the article, why do you think the author recommends that we ‘stop chasing inspiration’ as part of leadership development?
  2. Identify five specific metrics that an organization should implement that measure leadership development and provide a connection to organizational impact.
  3. Do you agree that HR is able to design programs that leadership development in a positive way? Why or why not?