This 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 sponsored by Upskill HR and Ace the HR Exam. 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 283: The Role of the CHRO and Talent Management With Gealita Greenhill (@GealitaGreenhill)
How do CHRO’s handle change management within a global organization? In this interview I dive into the subject of how the CHRO role can impact change management and communication for employees in countries around the world. I talked with Gealita Greenhill, Chief People Officer, Murphy Hoffman Company. Gealita is a human resources leader who has worked in the consumer packaged goods and manufacturing industries leading enterprise-wide change initiatives, advancing employee engagement, developing leadership capability, and shaping global talent management.
Gealita has been in the HR field since she completed her MBA at Vanderbilt, starting her career in marketing and later, moving on to organizational development management. “I’ve always done this kind of work, even before I was an HR practitioner. Each experience led me to more responsibility with a bigger impact on the people within the organization,” said Gealita. “Each opportunity taught me so much and I fell in love with this industry, the HR profession. I had wonderful mentors who taught me to always think about my own development, how to focus on what drives me, and to take advantage of every opportunity. Typically if you want to give back, you’re going to give more.”“I couldn’t have imagined the journey, but each learning opportunity made me love HR more.” - Gealita Greenhill #WorkologyPodcast #CHROSeries Click To Tweet
I asked Gealita about her current responsibilities and how she supports her organization. “My number one goal is to build and lead a team of HR professionals that embody the culture of our company and attract and help our leaders retain the best talent and rewarding employees for their contribution to our organization as we’re building our future. I also have a broader responsibility in an organizational initiative to ensure we are prepared for the future and those conversations around our business. How do we ensure that we have enough leaders to support growth and if we don’t, how can we plan for the next three to five years? These are the conversations that drive me and the leadership for our company.”
As far as skills required to be in a CHRO role, Gealita said that “Understand why you want that seat, number one, because that’s going to ground you in success. Always have your north star. And business acumen. Understand how your company makes money, how everything that you do impacts the bottom line, what’s the return on investment – not just in dollars, but also in engagement and productivity. What are you ultimately trying to achieve and how do you tie that into company goals.”“I need to hire people that are smarter than me so I can be the most informed to adapt and make decisions.” - Gealita Greenhill #WorkologyPodcast #CHROSeries Click To Tweet
The CHRO Role During a Global Pandemic
MHC has a balance of essential field employees and corporate employees, so the pandemic last year impacted much of the company’s business. I asked Gealita about how she and her team handled the crisis. “Working in an essential industry has been eye opening. 90 percent of our employees are on the front lines every day. Truckers were on the road, goods couldn’t stop, we still had demand from customers. We said that if we couldn’t institute the CDC guidelines that will keep our employees and customers safe, we wouldn’t do it. It was a lot of trial and error, taking insights from our field organization, doing a risk analysis on each location that goes through the safety department in HR to understand what modifications we needed to make. We’re a community driven organization and like to interact with each other and our customers.”
“We had to take a fresh look at what customer service looked like during a pandemic, how we could provide the safest environment, how quickly we could take some business online, and then we had to roll out Zoom or Teams to employees who haven’t used it before. Just 10 percent of our employee population is corporate and had to work from home; we needed the infrastructure to do it and had it in place within 48 hours. The biggest lesson for us is that we needed a better and more efficient way to communicate across the entire 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 Gealita set up the structure of her company’s HR team to strategically support business operations and set up a talent development group. I appreciate Gealita taking the time to share her experience with us!
Connect with Gealita Greenhill.
How to Subscribe to the Workology Podcast
Find out how to be a guest on the Workology Podcast.