Should the Head of Human Resources Report to the CEO?

The answer is: yes, if you want to be like other high-performing companies.

With many human resource departments still grappling with how to become more strategic, a recent study by i4cp revealed several opportunities based on how HR is typically organized.

In the study, respondents were asked to specify how their HR organization was structured on a regional, functional and team level. Results varied by company size, understandably, but several gaps were identified between higher market performing organizations - those companies that have shown considerable revenue growth and increased market share over the last five years - and low-performing organizations. Some of these gaps are listed below (for organizations of 10,000 employees and more):
  • High market performers are more likely to have HR structured with a combination of centers of excellence, shared services and HR generalists (65% versus only 44% for low performers).
  • Global high performers tend to decentralize by country, whereas a vast majority of lower market performers decentralize by region/continent.
  • More than 78% of higher market performers have the head of HR reporting directly to the CEO, versus 67% of low performers.
  • Higher market performers rely much more heavily on multifunctional temporary team-based structures (43.5%) than low performers (28%).
  • HR sets up more cross-functional teamsin higher-performing organizations (47.7%) than in low-performing ones (only 35 %).
More respondents from high-performing organizations (55.6%) said that their HR budget represents 3-5% of their organization's operating budget, whereas HR departments in low performers tend to receive a smaller percentage.
Erik Samdahl
Erik is the head of marketing at i4cp, and has nearly 20 years in the market research and human capital research industry.