What if Human Resources reported to the Board of Directors?


People are our most valuable resource.” Most companies would agree wholeheartedly with this common adage. Yet most companies are structured in a manner where there are two perspectives (leadership/management and employees).  Employees are left on one side of the divide – by themselves. Human Resources then naturally appears to be aligned to the interests of leadership.

The impact is that employees perceive that they are often feeling alone against management. Especially when it comes to performance, career transition, or discipline.  This leads to employee disengagement, decreased productivity and retention issues.

Read Also: Engaging Employees with Autonomy, Mastery, & Purpose.

The common practice in many Fortune 500 companies is that the Internal Audit team reports directly to the Board’s Audit Committee. This helps ensure that the IA department is able to maintain a certain level of objectivity when examining the financial books that it might not have if reporting to the CFO or CEO.  

What if, in like manner, the company untethered Human Resources? What if the Chief People Person (CHRO) reported to a Board committee like Internal Audit?  Imagine if this were the case. It could:

  • send a clear message that the most valuable resource adage isn’t more than lip service.
  • do a lot to curb the scourge of most organizations – middle management.
  • do more than an Ethics Line ever could to make employees not feel the threat of retaliation.

There are lot of folks talking about innovating the workplace.  Consider making the corporate HRs similar to NFL Referees who report, not to the owners, but to the League Office. Talk about a giant step for inclusion and engagement.