Episode 273: The Role of the CHRO and Organizational Development

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. 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. 

Episode 273: The Role of the CHRO and Organizational Development With Claudio Díaz (@ClaudioDíaz)

I spoke to Claudio Díaz, a CHRO whose career in HR goes back to the 90s when he worked on training and business programs for Walt Disney World and later in professional services and healthcare firms. Claudio was recently named a Top 10 Human Resources Professional by OnCon for 2021. The global OnCon Icon Awards recognize the top HR professionals and HR vendors in the entire world. 

Claudio said that he began his career literally on the ground floor with Disney in housekeeping, “literally cleaning floors on graveyard shifts and went to school during the day to get my accounting degree. I started in finance and was designated trainer in finance for Disney and then became an assistant supervisor. That’s where I was chosen to work on a business process reengineering task force. BPR was big back then and we created Disney’s first engagement survey.” Claudio quickly became a subject matter expert for healthcare through his work in training for Disney Institute and later moved into working in the healthcare space.”

The CHRO and Organizational Development

Claudio has been in professional services for the past 15 years at the executive level in HR and organizational development. “Just like personal development is helping a person become their best, organizational development treats the entire organization as one entity and then improves it. There is a lot more to it, but some simple concepts that make up OD as a business partner and consultant.” 

“Many organizations feel like they can adjust on the fly to the market or other changes, but an OD professional can help companies get through it more efficiently because we do root cause analysis. People hate RCA because it takes time, but you actually save time in the long run by not using short-term quick fixes.” 

When it comes to HR metrics, Claudio recommends working with “leading measures, not lagging measures, and being armed with data that shows something is or isn’t working well. This is how you can proactively alert your executive team to indicators that are impacting your workforce.”

 He adds that “business skills are paramount. If you don’t know what EBITDA or contribution margin is, how can you contribute to the conversation at the executive table? You have to be able to explain very articulately and clearly how your company makes money. HR certification exams have questions about these terms for a reason.”

I asked Claudio about how the CHRO ‘s role changes how we work with our executive team. “It’s important to understand that you’re working together, that coaching is part of the process to help your leadership team and you’re there to be a guide.”

“Executives are human. We know it cerebrally, but we sometimes don’t treat them this way. You’re there to be a guide.” - Claudio Díaz #CHRO #WorkologyPodcast Click To Tweet

Change management is built into organizational development. Claudio mentioned John Kotter’s model for change management and William Bridges’s model for transformation (linked in resources below). “I love the Bridges model for its simplicity. He basically says that we all go through three simple stages when we change: ending what currently is, the transition phase, and new beginnings. Communicating through those three phases at the right time can help an organization successfully change.” Communication is what leads to acceptance of – and even excitement for – change within an organization.

It’s 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. 

Listen to the full podcast for more, including how Claudio applied “Disney excellence” throughout his career, how embracing innovation increases engagement, and how his accounting background made him a better CHRO. I appreciate Claudio taking the time to share his experience with us!

Connect with Claudio Díaz.



Claudio Diaz on LinkedIn

Leading Change by John Kotter

Bridges Transition Model

CHRO Job Description

Episode 270: The Role of the CHRO Leading a Remote Workforce

How HR Technology Can Help Managers Become Better Managers

Change Management Resource Guide for HR Leaders

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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