What Chief Talent Officer Brings to the Company

November 16, 20158:23 am559 views

Most major corporations have a Chief Talent Officer (CTO), or an executive who is recognised as playing that role. Great companies understand that people are priority. People drive business forward.

The number one most important resource allocation challenge that all leaders have is putting the right people in place and then helping them to be successful. In fact, The most successful organisations have active talent acquisition and development programs firmly in place.

However, many companies have yet to fully tap the power of the CTO position. Although, a good CTO knows how to deliver on his or her end of the bargain. Louis Carter, founder of Best Practice Institute, explains two things that CTO brings to the company.

  1. Great CTOs make the CEO their No. 1 client

Perhaps the most significant contribution a CTO can make to the partnership is to view the CEO as the CTO’s No. 1 client. Like everybody, CEOs need to be learning and developing, and the best talent officers help make that happen.

When Hy Pomerance became CTO at New York Life Insurance Co. in 2009, he started working on his strategic partnership with CEO Ted Mathas.

“It really started with me taking an interest in him as a leader,” Pomerance said. “I really wanted to understand, deeply understand, where he was in his own journey as a leader.”

It is no surprise that many CEOs find it difficult to open up about areas in which they may have room for growth. Pomerance recommends humility and patience.

“I didn’t come in preaching,” he said. “I didn’t come in saying, ‘Let me tell you a thing or two.’ I kept my relationship on what I would call the ‘interview level.’ I had lots of questions. That gave him the confidence that he could start asking me questions.”

See: What It Takes to be a Chief Human Resources Officer

Some prospective and new executive hires make the mistake of coming on too strong too quickly. They immediately start to express that they understand someone’s needs. A CEO is not going to let you talk about needs. Why? You didn’t take time to develop a relationship.

Pomerance focused on the needs of the organisation as a way to build the relationship he needed with the CEO so they could position the CEO as the change agent he had the capacity and instincts to be.

“I couched it as his three-year vision for how, as a leader, he would like to have a different impact in the future than he is having today. We talked about what he is trying to change in the company, and then, how he could leverage his talents and instincts to be that agent of change.”

2. Great CTOs gain the trust of other key leaders in addition to the CEO

In developing a healthy relationship with the CEO, the CTO can’t ignore other top executives. The best CTOs know that one of their best resources is strong alliances with other members of the executive team.

“You can’t just have an allegiance with the CEO, because you work with all of those people,” said Joyce. “It is important, particularly for talent people and HR people, to have a very concrete and trusting and transparent relationship with all members of the executive committee. It makes it far easier for him [the CEO] to trust his CTO or his head of HR if his team trusts them and respects them as well.”

For CTOs who do not enjoy a strong CEO relationship, Joyce recommends starting with the other top executives. “I think the tactic that I would take, if I didn’t have it at the CEO level, is to get it with the executive team or people with whom the CEO has great relationships, so that you build advocacy for who you are and what you do.”

See also: Why Do Employers Miss Out on Recruiting Brightest Talent?

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