Once a task-driven, compliance-oriented role, HR has rapidly evolved to serve as a collaborative partner of the CEO that ensures people alignment, engagement and retention. In the latest episode of High Growth Matters, we talk about the quickly evolving charter of a Chief People Officer (CPO) in the modern organization — as well as the role that data plays in earning, keeping, and succeeding in it.
We were joined by Joanne Simon-Walters —TEDx speaker, Ph.D. candidate and Chief People Officer of emergency response platform Simplesense, who also happens to be an OpenComp customer. With a personal mission to help underrepresented people tell their stories, Joanne is passionate about diversity, equity, inclusion, belonging, acceptance, and working at a company that helps those who help others.
This blog has been adapted from that conversation and covers:
- The shifting relationship between CPO and CEO
- What CPOs need from HR data
- The importance of finding your voice
Don’t miss the full episode: Finding Your Voice: What Chief People Officers Need from HR Data
The shifting relationship between CPO and CEO
When HR first began, it was primarily a compliance-oriented role that taught an organization how to avoid getting in trouble. But the task-driven state of HR has shifted quickly over the last few years.
HR moved from acting as protectors of the organization to their current focus of being champions of the people.
“CPOs and People Operations have evolved into collaborative partners of the CEO,” Joanne says. “They help the CEO better understand what is really going on with the workforce and how they can ensure their values attract and retain the best.”
While HR still has roles regarding compliance, the recent evolution across the industry has allowed People Ops to truly help employees within an organization — the main factor that attracted Joanne to the CPO role. CPOs are granted the opportunity and responsibility to collaborate with the CEO to shape a work environment that enables employees to thrive.
“You're not going to get the best people if you're not taking care of employees holistically,” Joanne says. “I was drawn in by the fact that Simplesence helps those who help others. That's who I am. That's what I want to align to.”
The critical state of HR data (and what CPOs need from it)
Data is pertinent to creating and maintaining equity, inclusion and diversity within an organization, according to Joanne.
“When we talk about pay ranges, it’s not only about pulling people in who want to make a certain amount of money,” she says. “It's also the impression everybody else in the company gets about your view of equity and belonging.”
When accurate HR data is used to establish salary ranges and the data used is transparent and visible to employees and candidates, people feel valued from the beginning.
“For far too long, women and other underrepresented groups were offered salaries scoped on what they made in their previous roles. But if you've always made less than you’re worth in the market, you'll never catch up to those who've always been compensated at or above what they're worth,” Joanne says.
Finding, analyzing and implementing insights from data based on position, location, experience and more can help to create an equitable work environment and increase talent retention. According to Joanne, the true work of creating pay bands occurs in the planning and conceptualization of a role, then hard numbers and data are analyzed.
Joanne considers the following factors vital when establishing pay ranges:
- Baseline skills required for success in a position
- Years of experience
- Geographic strategy
Once the data has been analyzed and a pay range established, organizations can decide if the strategy aligns with the position's goals. If things don’t match up, the role expectations can be tweaked until it aligns with the organization's vision, mission and values.
Joanne has found great value in the ability to run multiple scenarios with the tools we provide here at OpenComp. If you’d like more information on the accurate, powerful data available to assist in establishing equity pay practices, check out our compensation software.
The importance of finding your voice
While it was never a life goal, Joanne made a huge difference in her life and the lives of others by giving a TED talk. She spoke of a personal experience where she endured workplace bullying without a place to turn for support. Approaching this presentation was difficult, but it helped her find her voice.
“So much has taken place in my career based on that talk,” Joanne says. “I gained an ability to speak up for myself, advocate for myself and be comfortable doing so. Finding my voice has up-leveled who I've become.”
Employees and professionals are people first. The courage and actions people use daily impact those around them, whether in a professional setting or not. Finding your voice impacts how you see and talk to yourself and others and how others experience you and your treatment.
A single moment or experience can be transformed into something that becomes a universal guiding principle that can cascade across all avenues of an individual’s life. Finding one’s voice allows them to advocate for themselves and others and optimize their professional role in HR to shape life-changing experiences for all employees.
If you enjoyed this post, you’d appreciate our conversation, where we take a deep dive into the topics covered here today and beyond. Take a moment to listen to the full High Growth Matters episode. If you like what you hear, please consider leaving us a rating and bookmarking the podcast to be notified each time we publish a new episode.
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