At the same time, reports from Heidrick and Struggles indicate that competition for the CPO’s chair will increase, with a ripple effect to be felt down through the ranks. Ambitious, young college graduates will choose personnel or HRD as a path to the top, the company predicts, and more line managers will transfer into staff functions for “broadening experiences” in the quest for the mantle of president.
Already, executive recruiters cite instances of line-to-staff transfers in major electronics, banking and insurance firms. At Ernst and Whinney, an accounting firm that does a large volume of in-house executive search work, rising young executive stars regularly spent three to five years as regional “personnel partners” before taking control of a company office.
At the root of the CPO’s newfound prestige, the headhunters see grow¬ing concern over worker efficiency. The CPO who knows how to train, develop and motivate employees can enhance productivity in the ’80s.
“A company can’t build machinery to operate at 99% efficiency and then permit human resources to operate at 50% efficiency,” says Roger Kenny, senior vice president, Spencer Stuart and Associates, and the author of a report on the rising influence of CPOs. “Somebody has to come to grips with the tough issues of ‘do we have the right people, the right infrastructure, to implement our company’s strategic plan?’
“Part of the confusion of the past has been that there was no one person responsible for human resources,” Kenny adds. “In the future, the chief personnel officer will be responsible for the company’s people just as the chief financial officer is responsible for finance. That person will be pulled into strategic decision-making because, unlike in the past, corporate top management can’t skirt the manpower issue.”
By : Elaine Fletcher. Training Magazine.