Episode 252: The Role of the CHRO in Change Management

Today’s podcast is part of a series on the Workology Podcast focused on the role and responsibilities of the Chief Human Resources Officer, or CHRO. The CHRO is an executive or C-level role that deals with managing human resources, as well as with organizational development and implementing policies of change to improve the overall efficiency of the company. The CHRO Podcast series on Workology is powered by HUB International. One of the reasons I wanted to do this series is because there is a lot of mystery around the CHRO role. I want aspiring CHRO’s to know what type of skills and experiences they need to promote into a future CHRO role along with hearing from senior HR leadership how they are partnering and collaborating with their executive peers. The CHRO Series is powered by HUB International.  

Episode 252: The Role of the CHRO in Change Management with Karen Crone (@KLCrone)

How do CHRO’s navigate change while supporting your executive team and the larger organization? In this interview, I dive into the subject of change and our current times we are living in are a great example. How do we plan to move forward from where we are now, sheltering in place with teams that are working remotely to what the future role of HR and the CHRO looks like? I talked with Karen Crone, CHRO with Paycor. Karen has an extensive background in HR, and for the past decade, she has been involved in people operations with Paycor. 

I asked Karen what she thinks are the most important skills for a CHRO role, especially for HR leaders who are moving towards an executive-level position. She said that “there are three things to master: You really have to immerse yourself in the business…being successful in HR is about expanding the business. The concept of really getting experience in recruiting people and talent management, how you’re developing your pipeline, and how you influenced it. Having an assignment that really influences culture…if you can look back and say that you made a dent in culture, that’s really good experience to have.” 

If you can look back and say that you made a dent in culture, that’s really good experience. - @KarenCrone #podcast #humanresources Click To Tweet

The current pandemic wasn’t a future we planned for. I asked Karen her thoughts about predictive HR plans and how to look around corners. “It’s as much about making sure your policies and practices are flexible, being able to create teams whose skills can adapt quickly, creating flexibility and change practices in your environment,” she said. “There are so many things this year we could have not predicted, but we can predict an interruption in business continuity. I think when we reflect on this in five or 10 years, we’ll see more positive outcomes than we do downsides.”

Paycor has a new CEO, which means the executive dynamic is changing. I asked Karen about the model she’s using for change management. She said, “we adopted three types of meetings: A weekly tactical meeting that has a ‘popcorn’ agenda (you never know what’s going to be on it), we have a monthly strategic meeting where we look at our annual plan and how we’re doing, then we have a quarterly strategic offsite where we do a deep dive into our strategy and spend time looking into our future.” It’s important to understand everyone’s competencies, everyone’s definition of success, and make sure everyone at the executive table has a voice. 

A change in leadership gives you a huge opportunity to move to the next inflection point in your business. - @KarenCrone #podcast #chro #humanresources Click To Tweet

It’s really interesting to delve into how a role like CHRO whose experience more closely connects them to the strategy and operations of the overall business works with the rest of a company leadership team. The CHRO doesn’t just lead HR within a company, the role is also key to structuring the leadership for a company’s executive team. I appreciate Karen taking the time to share her experience with us.

Connect with Karen Crone.



CHRO Job Description

2020 CHRO Report 

Your Guide to the HR Organization and Team Structures

Episode 249: Why the CHRO is the New CPO

Episode transcript


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Jessica Miller-Merrell

Jessica Miller-Merrell (@jmillermerrell) is a workplace change agent, author and consultant focused on human resources and talent acquisition living in Austin, TX. Recognized by Forbes as a top 50 social media influencer and is a global speaker. She’s the founder of Workology, a workplace HR resource and host of the Workology Podcast.


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