So I put a quick poll on LinkedIn the other day – “Are HR Execs CEO Material?” We had 65 responses in the last week…not great, but ok for somewhat of a statistical sample. It also generated some good dialogue in some of the Groups – HR Executive Network was one of them. I know this topic has already been kicked around in various forms and forums, but I think the discussion should continue. Some interesting observations:
1) Only 9% of all respondents said HR Execs were in no way CEO material; more than half said that they were absolutely material – with the right experiences. That’s good, I guess.
2) 33% of respondents, though, who were in the “C-Suite” or at the VP level suggested that HR Execs are not CEO Material; 50% of respondents from Enterprise Sized organizations (largest) thought HR Execs are not CEO material.
3) 25% of Female respondents thought HR doesn’t have the right stuff for the CEO’s office, while only 10% of Males felt that way.
4) 50% of respondents 55 or older don’t think HR Execs are good candidates for CEO roles.
Exposure to finance & operations (or lack thereof) came up several times as the leading inhibitor to HR’s access to the corner office. One commenter brought up the external shareholders’ perception of HR as a major obsticle – I thought that was interesting. The most telling result to me as I look for my daily dose of reality: 50% of respondents from the HR function said HR Execs are “Absolutely” candidates for CEO whereas not a single other function felt the same…not a single other function. That means the only people in this entire survey who felt HR was primed and ready to take on the Chief Executive’s role were HR people themselves. Now what does that say?