Warning Your CEO

In SHRM’s HR Week of January 19, 2009 the question “What do I do when the CEO will not listen to my warnings regarding legal risks or other bad decisions?” is posed to readers.  The conclusion arrived at is that once your position is clearly stated, both verbally and in writing and substantiated by impacts to the bottom line and positives from the approach put forward and your advice is ignored then that’s all you can do.  I want to put a more proactive spin on this as it relates to the HR professional’s positioning of the function to the CEO.  Eight areas come to mind that should shape the experience between the CEO and HR.  I am sure you can add more to the list.

  • Education – talk to your CEO about HR and your role and what value you can add to the organization;
  • Build Rapport – develop a cordial relationship with mutual respect;
  • Build Trust – show that you are reliable and dependable;
  • Highlight previous successes – be eager to share success stories from previous places of employment;
  • Be proactive – do not wait for problems to arise; give your input in anticipation of events/issues;
  • Know the business – understand the jargon and the challenges; know the strategy;
  • Offer support – be a confidant to the CEO; offer your perspective and be willing to publicly offer support;
  • Be assertive – be confident in your abilities; once you have analyzed the situation, put your position out there;

The use of these tactics should minimize instances of your view being disregarded, unless there are mitigating circumstances to which you are not privy.

Bianca Attong


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