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CEOs cannot function without HR

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While many CEOs naturally assume the position of managing and developing top talent for the organisation, some still need to be guided by HR.

The demand to grow the best talent is on every CEOs agenda, but many are still struggling to resolve their organisation’s talent problems, a panel of CEOs explained during today’s on-stage CEO interview at Talent Management 2013, a two-day conference hosted by Human Resources.

Logan Velaitham, AirAsia CEO, said many leaders have realised how much their role has changed in recent years – but some still have to work harder to align their business objectives.

“The mindset that HR is seen as administrative function needs to change. HR managers need to be aligned with the business strategy, and only then will the company move forward,” Velaitham said.

In order to better align HR’s talent management strategies with the overall business goals, Abid Butt, CEO of Banyan Tree Hotels and Resorts, said HR has to be active participants of business-centric conversations.

“CEOs cannot function without a sound HR discipline. Companies all rely on people, and people have to be looked after. At the same time, a lot of the strategic conversations occur at the CEO level, therefore HR needs to be involved in these conversations. It has got to be a collaborative effort,” Butt said.

As a company president and CEO, Butt said he has noticed a number of specific points where HR can become more strategic in order to work alongside the CEO better.

“Understanding the core needs of the business is very important, not just for HR but for anyone in the organisation. They have to understand the issues the company is up against. Unless we live it, we won’t be able to solve the issues. Understanding the business issues is a given; that’s the price of entry,” he said.

Stephen Mosely, president and managing director of Hong Kong & Macau and Myanmar for L’Oreal agreed, saying the days where business functions are siloed are over.

“To get to the top of an organisation, there are two experiences you ought to have early in your career. One is a spell in commercial, where you will learn how to sell, and the other is in HR to develop a better understanding of people,” Mosely said.

Mosely added HR professionals must acquire stronger skills in business acumen and finance if they ever want to move up the ladder to become CEO themselves.”In terms of ensuring long term developments, which is the prime mission of the CEO, if you don’t have the money or the people, you can’t start the race. You have to start with the basics – the people and the money,” he said.

Follow the Talent Management 2013 conversation on Twitter at @Mag_HR #TM2013



Asia’s most renowned regional HR Excellence Awards is back in October in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia to sieve out HR’s finest gems. Are you a diamond in the rough? View the categories and find out more.

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