What does a CHRO do?


CHRO – Chief Human Resources Officer – it’s a term frequently heard in the job market. But for those at the threshold of their career all it means is someone who will take their interview and decide whether or not you are the right candidate for the job. Pause for a minute though, and think – what if you were in his shoes? Is recruitment the only thing a CHRO does?

In this article we’ll demystify the role of CHRO for you. And if you would like us to demystify any other post do let us know in the comments or read through to see other ways to connect with us.


Traditionally called personnel managers, CHRO is the contemporary designation for the person who manages the employees within the organization. Recruiter, recruiting officer, or HR manager, – call him what you may he sits right there at the table with the other members of the C-Suite participating in policy and strategy decisions for the organization.

Right at the core, an HR manager’s role is people management. He – and his team or department –are the link between the organization and its employees.

Hierarchy within HR depends to a great extent upon the size of the organization. The larger the organization the bigger the HR team – obviously – because there are more people to manage. So an entry level HR executive may grow to become HR manager or team leader moving to VP(HR) and eventually CHRO or HR Director.

HR Roles and Responsibilities

Recruitment is not the sole responsibility that HR fulfils. There are many other duties and responsibilities that this “doorway” team does. Those that are common to most organizations include –


HR is a part of the recruitment process from the get go. If the organization is large and in need of a large number of people, freelance recruiters may be hired for the first stage – screening – though bots are now gradually taking over that role.

Recruitment begins with the need of a team leader or department head either for an additional member or to replace an exiting team member. For new organizations and start-ups this may be the entire staff required to run the business. It befalls the HR manager to determine the best way to source candidates, screen and interview them, and eventually orient the selected few into the organization.

Once initiated, the new employees may be handed over to the training team – or the HR team may continue to fulfil this responsibility as well. It is also the role of the HR team to facilitate mentorship for new candidates and maintain record of all applications received so that if any candidate leaves during his probation (usually 6 months to a year) he can be efficiently replaced. Probation may translate to internship, apprenticeship, or training – depending upon the organization and the role of the candidate.


While it is possible that an employee may quit at any time – including the initial probation period – it is important to remember that organizations invest a good deal of time and money in the recruitment process – and given the present circumstances every business big or small wants to extract ROI from every penny spent. Therefore organizations are willing to accommodate many demands and needs in order to retain a recruited employee. Some of the accommodation commonly made include –

  1. Mentorship for employees who find it difficult to adapt to the role
  2. Lateral shifts – from one team or department to another – when employee and team-lead differ.
  3. Cultural training to help adapt with diversity
  4. Improvement in workplace environment such as recreation, frequent breaks and so on.
  5. Improved pay-packages for confirmed employees looking for better opportunities
  6. Personal growth manager to help employees grow within the organization.

Pay Package Negotiation

When new employees are recruited their pay package is discussed with them just before on boarding and the process moves forward only when both employer and potential employee are in agreement.

Similarly when an employee decides to jump ship – quit for better opportunities – it is the HR manager who first reaches out and begins discussion for retention – because a better benefits package is usually the #1 reason for job change. That said if it turns out that the employee is quitting because he is dissatisfied, a mentor or personal growth manager may be called in – if not already working with the employee as is the practice in many large businesses.

Worth mention here is the fact that salary is not the only component discussed during benefits negotiation. It also includes benefits like health insurance, retirement package, medical reimbursement, and de-stressing facilities to name a few.

Expense Management

A CHRO gets budget allocation just like any other member of the C-Suite. Some of the activities that this budget covers include –

  1. Salary
  2. Health Benefits
  3. Retirement benefits and plans
  4. Stock options
  5. Bonuses
  6. Reimbursements
  7. Other expenses – such as travel and commissions.

This list is obviously not exhaustive as business models – and consequently expenses – vary from one business to another.

Personal Development

Change is an integral part of life. Even when employees get the best of benefits, they may still leave out if sheer boredom from doing the same job over and over and over. To avoid this businesses invest efforts in enhancing employee experience within the organization.

Some of the ways in which businesses enhance employee experience include –

Upskilling Breaks

Companies offer work from home or even paid leaves for employees who are taking a course with reimbursement – either whole or partial – of course fees thrown in. This allows the employee to learn something new and hope to bag the next round of promotions. It is the responsibility of the HR manager to ensure that employees are afforded a fair opportunity within the boundaries of company policy and also that the work is not hampered by the absence of an employee who is away.

Hand Holding

Growth opportunities happen within any organizational hierarchy. But some corporate ladders are tall and steep while others are not so tall. Moreover not all employees are qualified or skilled enough to progress quickly and smoothly. To help such employees, a mentor is appointed to guide the employee through the growth curves of the company.

Participation events

Company events help employees and their families socialize. Participation events help all employees participate in the decision making process. These events – or brain storming sessions – may be conducted within teams, across teams, or among a vertically aligned group and give employees a sense of belonging and align them with the business. Organizing – or helping organize – such events falls within the job scope of an HR manager.

Lateral shifts

Sometimes, an employee may be shifted from one team to another at the same hierarchical level to better utilize his skills and talent thus bringing better job-satisfaction. When such shifts are requested, it is up to the CHRO and his team to ensure that the shift is seamless and fill the void either through fresh recruitment or internal promotion or shift.

Policy Development

Any organizational policy will eventually impact those working within the organization. Since it is the CHRO who manages employees he must participate in all policy development discussions. Indeed it is often the HR manager who first recognizes the need for a policy change and communicates it to the C-Suite. Some common areas where the CHRO may take the initiative include –

  • Office ethics, discipline and dress code
  • Vacations and leaves including WFH policy
  • Policy regarding use of internet and devices
  • Policy regarding use of office facilities

Workplace laws like minimum wages, employee safety and so on are changed / modified from time to time. The new GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) for instance requires all employers in the EU to ensure protection of company data including employees’ personal data and prevent exiting employees from carrying sensitive information with them.

Data security is not the only law to contend with. There are other laws and regulations such as discrimination, healthcare regulations, minimum compensation and employee safety to name a few – all of which fall within the purview of a CHRO’s role.

This just about sums up the role of a HR Director. But these are just the main roles. There are many inroads that a CHRO must traverse to fulfil his responsibilities. For instance he must stay abreast of the changes in the economy and ecosystem as well as within the organization and not only communicate these changes but help employees deal with them. One such change was the 2020 coronavirus pandemic when CHROs worked in tandem with CITOs (Chief IT Officers) helping employees work from home yet keep the data secure.

Of course the HR Manager has his team to help him in his tasks – but the responsibility of managing that team in a way that gets the job done quickly and efficiently is on the shoulders of the HR Manager.

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