What Does a Chief Human Resources Officer Do?

Updated on June 10th, 2021
What Does a Chief Human Resources Officer Do?

A Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO) is responsible for managing the human resources function of an organization. They typically work in conjunction with other senior leaders to develop a strategy that will help grow the company and maintain its competitiveness by optimizing employee engagement, retention, and recruitment practices.

CEOs need to take responsibility for their HR. Every company depends on the people inside them, and CEOs know that better than anyone else. But most of the companies are in trouble because their CHROs aren't able to do what they need to do - whether it's talent management or building a culture where employees can be successful. The bottom line is that if you're not taking care of your team members, then you might as well give up now because there won’t be any success left at all with so many disgruntled workers around!

Companies don’t create value; people do - but only when chief human resources officers (CHROs) have an understanding of how important every person really is within an organization, from its CEO down to the last person.

HR is the backbone of any company. Without HR, an organization will not be able to operate smoothly and efficiently - which could lead to a complete disaster for business owners, board members, and employees. The need of the hour is that CEOs bring CHROs on board with them for things such as employee relations or training programs to go off without a hitch…but this seems like it should be obvious! 

Job Description of a Chief HR Officer

HR functions suffer without the presence of a CHRO. The chief human resource officer (CHRO) provides the momentum they need to sync with business goals as well as the goals of their division. The following roles and responsibilities primarily make up their job description:

  •     A chief human resource officer serves as a key advisor to top management on all human resource issues, including the formulation of HR strategy and policies.
  •     A CHRO leads the employee relations division by overseeing staff benefits administration, labor relations activities (e.g., collective bargaining), and other related duties.
  •     Plan for future staffing needs so organizations can meet their business goals by making sure sufficient levels of quality talent are available at the right time and place within budget constraints; monitor employees' progress toward specific career paths or job designations; negotiate compensation packages with prospective hires.

In short, talent acquisition and maintaining a pipeline of potential candidates is where CHROs could be most effective. In fact, talent management bestows more power to them in leadership roles.

Harvard Business Review (HBR) Perspective

HBR informs and educates on CHRO's roles and responsibilities as an integral part of growth. Their focus is that CHROs should grow out of their current roles and become part of the strategic leadership, where they interact with the CEO and CFO regularly. Together, the trio is ultimately on its way to achieving business objectives. The executive committee involving CFO, CEO, and CHRO projects game-changing skills.

Human capital is the most difficult area to deal with for CEOs, and it is their least preferred one too. However, it is time to do the opposite and uplift CHROs not only as HR leaders but as strategic decision-makers. HR leadership determines the long-term success of companies in the modern era.

Generally, the CHRO is responsible for all HR functions in an organization, including hiring new talent, reviewing employee performance evaluations, and providing guidance to the CEO on which staff members are needed. In addition, they are responsible for a healthy workforce that can be trusted by customers. The specific CHRO role and their talent acquisition skills distinguish human resources from other divisions.

CHROs: Roles and Responsibilities

CHROs' job description doesn't end there; in fact, let's look at their responsibilities from top to bottom.

  •     They're are the first ones to know of any company-wide changes, such as new hires.
  •     Act as a liaison between staff and management by resolving conflicts that they may be facing in the workplace. 
  •     Provide strategic leadership over human resources. 
  •     Ensure compliance with employment laws HR function while remaining up to date on new developments through research and strategic planning.
  •     Oversee recruitment efforts to include screening potential candidates - and hiring decisions - for jobs both at headquarters and throughout the enterprise.
  •     Bring out the best in staff by providing training and development space to help them grow.
  •     Supervise junior and senior staff. CHROs have to be serious with them about work, but still, keep the mood light enough so they can express themselves too
  •     Remember at all times that they are human resources brand ambassadors.
  •     Monitor company policies HR function to make sure it remains on the right side of government regulations and public policy.

The CEOs Connection Readjustment with the Chief Human Resource Officer

It is high time CEOs who know the real value of their chief HR officers. They have to involve them beyond what's usually required of them and make them part of strategic planning. 

This is because the CHROs are responsible for many facets of a company that have been overlooked, including updating HR procedures and policies. 

A CEO must have a clear view of how much a CHRO could be contributing and ensure they're communicating expectations in written form. It's important to spell things out on paper so that both parties know what is expected of them, making it easier to understand for everyone involved.

On the whole, you should take into account that chief HR officers are there to ensure compliance with labor laws, employment contracts, employee benefits (such as retirement plans), recruitment, payroll management, developing HR policies and procedures in alignment with company goals and objectives. 

Education and Experience

Know that HR certificates, degrees, and hence, the overall qualifications coupled with years of experience make up a portfolio of a strong CHRO. A potential CHRO should be, at least, having some of the following traits:

  •     Certified Professional in Human Resources Competency
  •     Possess HR Certifications (i.e., SHRM, PHR) 
  •     Experience with implementing HR technology and workforce analytics 
  •     Earned a BA/BS from a recognized institute with a minimum of 15 years of industry exposure.
  •     Some degree or certificate related to human resources management such as an MBA or MS-HRM. 
  •     Master's Degree in HR Management from WGU is accepted by some organizations that require this level of education for the position. 
  •     At times, a Ph.D. is required.
  •     Associate Degree is also acceptable when it's coupled with lengthy work experience.

Stats and Figures

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 6.5% growth for all occupations through 2024, which is about average compared to other fields like healthcare or construction, where these jobs typically grow faster than average.

CHRO Skills and Competencies

  •     Excellent ability to communicate both verbally and in writing.
  •     Knowledge of employment law issues, government regulations, and HR functions.
  •     Be able to analyze a situation and suggest the most logical resolution procedures.
  •     Know how to handle HR software.
  •     Prior experience of working in junior and senior roles.
  •     Possess the ability to resolve conflicts with a variety of people.
  •     Easy-going person who has a knack for following instructions, and they're not afraid to get their hands dirty.
  •     A big believer in diversity.
  •     Ability to multitask and meet deadlines.
  •     Able to stay calm under pressure with the courage to be a change agent in a business that's not yet there.
  •     Strong HR leadership and training skills.
  •     Savvy user of Microsoft Office Suite, part of their HR software skillset.

Salary Expectations: How Much Do Chief Human Resources Officers Make?

We'll take a look at their salaries from the perspective of several authentic websites on the web. According to salary.com, if you're in the market for a job as Chief Human Resource Officer, get ready to make some serious bank. The average salary is $252,500 but ranges from between $202k -$317K depending on your education and experience!

This data is recent as of May 27, 2021.

If you're looking for a new career in human resources, just keep reading! 

The data from PayScale shows that the CHRO position has high earning potential. There are three levels of experience: early (1-4 years), mid (5-9 years), and experienced (>10). For entry-level positions with 1 to 4 years of experience, the average total compensation is $101k/year - which includes tips & bonuses as well; while an established veteran earns around $147K per year on average.

According to Glassdoor, $163,971 is the average salary for Chief Human Resources Officers in the United States. You can filter by location to see what this same job pays on your turf! Salary estimates are based on 111 anonymous submissions from current and former people in these positions who share their salaries with Glassdoor.

Chief human resource officer career paths are pretty much in demand, and all you have to do is follow procedures, register yourself with job portals and wait for the right opportunity to show up.

Physical Responsibilities

A Chief Human Resource Officer works in a variety of industries establishing at any level within a company. They often need to travel, so they may require frequent access to airports or other modes of transportation. Chief HR officers often manifest the best of their responsibilities when it comes to delicate interpersonal situations.

They have to sit for long hours in front of a computer and have to be able to multitask.

Any weight required to be carried around or lifted is usually up to 25 lbs and can include bulky equipment, boxes of paperwork, files, and other items. Such situations often result in office, while there is a switch to another one, or simply a renovation of the building.

All these responsibilities make them what they are in the physical sense.

Responsibilities of a Modern CHRO

According to studies by Harvard, there are certain functions that the modern CHRO has to exhibit: speculate outcomes from their decisions; diagnose problems that may arise before them; and, prescribe the best course of action for an individual or a group to improve their work.

Let's look at them one by one:

1.   Speculating Outcomes

Once the CEO restructures the new role of the CHRO along with the likes of CFOs, it puts them in the decision-making seat. Remember, success is measured when you notice an increase in revenue, market hold, brand popularity, and margins. 

CHROs must raise the right questions at the right time. For instance, what is the probability of a unit head making changes in their strategy to meet the current demands? And will the team members be able to execute it as a unit? Ask these questions to align your knowledge with business goals to increase your chances of growth.

One of the most common responsibilities of CHROs is to align human resources functions with company goals so the team can execute tasks efficiently. It's their responsibility to make sure that every member of the team has access to what they need to do their job well.

Talent Management

Ideal candidates for the position of a CHRO are expected to fill the gaps between people and jobs. Their capabilities are tested in a big way when they match human capital needs with job opportunities at hand.

The human resources chief should sit with the CFO to see if the key performance indicators and budget specifications are enough to bring about the desired outcomes. If not, they should set new metrics accordingly. Ideal candidates have a keen eye for captivating new technologies and identifying loopholes.

Competition Prediction

Furthermore, the key responsibilities of a CHRO include speculating the moves of competitors. How their decision-makers and executives are of value in comparison to the same set of people in CHRO's organization.

They should keep an on any alteration done to human resources at rival companies. This not only tests their ability as a super observer but also puts them in a position where they can make better predictions. By keeping an eye on incentive, employee engagement, turnover, talent acquisition, and overall human resources they can predict what is about to happen. 

For example, when Apple began to hire people from the medical technology profession, it automatically meant they were going to launch devices or smartwatches with medical functions. This is clearly an example of talent acquisition prediction.

2.   Diagnosing Problems

This is an activity that requires a certain level of skill and expertise to be successful, as it involves problem-solving for employers. Where does it hurt the most and figuring a way to dismantle the situation in favor of the business?

Why isn't the organization achieving its goals? The CEO, instead of turning to consultants, should turn to CHRO for input. As an executive vice president, you are to gather insights into CHROs and take them more seriously.

HR executives have a deep understanding of business objectives. They can see which jobs need filling, how they will be filled, and when these positions should be vacated for new talent - all before it becomes an issue that affects the company's bottom line or reputation. 

The CHROs role is to allow them to focus on what they do best, while the CHRO takes care of all administrative work and be their go-to person for HR-related topics. 

3.   Prescribing Actions

The CHRO needs to know what they should prescribe if there are any problems or issues with their company's employment. It is like an ointment to the injury and more like closing up a wound on human resources. They need to know what the "right" thing is for their employers. They also have to make sure that they are doing it on time, if not sooner.

Aside from being able to provide this information, CHROs should be able to use their communication skills to get the job done. If anything doesn't go well with the staff, they must take the necessary steps to resolve it and do so quickly. The capabilities of a CHRO must take human resources to the next level as they stand among leadership roles frequently.


As we conclude this article, we know that we understand the essential capabilities of CHROs and how human resources could lead the way towards a breakthrough in the market for employers. Apart from their conventional responsibilities, they should function alongside CEOs as business partners and push their company's growth.

Being a CHRO is not as easy as it seems; many responsibilities come with this role, but for those who love challenges, being a chief HR officer can be their perfect career fit. Human resources are where business operations feel most vulnerable because talent acquisition and management are easier said than done.