A case for HR leaders on public boards

Corporate boards of public companies are lacking people experts, like chief human resources officers, who offer expertise on talent management, recruitment and retention.

The finding is highlighted in an Oct. 31 Fortune report, which provides viewpoints from firms that say more public boards should have HR leaders

Equilar, a data research firm, wrote in September that CHROs and their experience "positions them as pivotal collaborators with other executives in developing business strategies. They adeptly strike a harmonious balance between employee well-being and corporate interests, excel in talent acquisition and seamlessly translate strategies into actionable plans among employees." The firm also wrote that these leaders are "attuned to the risks associated with human capital, such as talent shortages, workforce disruptions and employee relations issues."

Consulting firm KPMG also notes that including an independent director with experience serving as a CHRO or vice president of human resources on the board is one way for companies and investors to address human capital, talent development and corporate culture.

KPMG Board Leadership Center Senior Adviser Annalisa Barrett specifically makes the case that CHROs can provide significant value to the CEO succession planning process and "have valuable experience in cultivating a strong corporate culture, making them well suited to ask the right questions to help identify concerns related to employee satisfaction, sexual harassment and workplace safety."

As the workforce continues to evolve, there is still plenty of room for HR leaders on boards of public companies. The consultancy Semler Brossy found in August that 8% of S&P 500 boards have a current or former CHRO on their board today. Dan Kaplan, senior client partner for the CHRO practice at Korn Ferry, a leadership advisory firm, estimates that fewer than 40 HR leaders serve as directors at Fortune 500 firms.

Read Fortune's full report here.

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