Wellbeing
4 min read

Why CEOs and CHROs must align to enhance workplace wellbeing


Alexis Croswell

Senior Content Marketing Manager, Culture Amp

Reading Time: 4 minutes

The Human Resources function continues to shift away from an administrative function into the role of strategic partner. When it comes to taking action on new initiatives to improve workplace culture, alignment between the Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO) and the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) is imperative to make lasting change.

CHROs oversee all people policies and operations for a company, from attracting to retaining employees and everything in between. They’re responsible for staying up-to-date with new policies and practices as well. A new practice gaining traction is employee wellbeing, once dismissed as a fringe benefit and now recognized as a worthwhile investment for companies. In addition to CEOs leading by example when it comes to wellbeing, the CEO and CHRO must be aligned on what it takes to make a new program, like wellbeing, happen.


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Here we explore the growing relationship between CEOs and CHROs and why they need to align to enhance workplace wellbeing.

CHROs are now an important strategic partner to CEOs

As writer Heather Landy explains for Quartz at Work, there’s a transformation afoot when it comes to how companies regard their HR leaders. As she explains, “In the same way the corporate world treated chief financial officers with new reverence in the wake of the corporate malfeasance scandals that dominated business headlines in the early aughts…companies are beginning to redefine the role and expectations of their CHROs. One hallmark of the new thinking about HR is that it should be led by someone whose experience more closely connects them to the strategy and operations of the overall business.”

While Human Resources as a function will still be held accountable for compliance, things like payroll and benefits, there’s a general acceptance that companies can and should expect more from HR leaders today. With more companies putting culture first, we’re likely to see more HR roles working in tandem with CEOs.

Clear communication from the C-Suite matters to employees

In 2018, three of the top five drivers of employee engagement based on Culture Amp’s data of more than 1200 companies were related to leadership. These drivers are:

  1. I have confidence in the leaders at my company
  2. The leaders at my company demonstrate that people are important to the companies success
  3. The leaders at my company have communicated a vision that motivates me

The signal from employees is clear – what leadership says and does have an effect on how engaged they feel. When introducing a new program, like workplace wellbeing, communication from leadership is invaluable to its initial and ongoing success. David Ostberg, Director of People Science, Performance at Culture Amp explains, “Essentially as leaders, it’s almost impossible to over-communicate strategy, direction, and relevant tactical details.”

Why focus on workplace wellbeing together?

As leading industry analyst Josh Bersin says, “Wellbeing is a global topic, not limited to big cities or developed economies.” People are overwhelmed digitally and everyone is working more than 40 hours a week. A focus on wellbeing and support from the workplace is something employees are asking for consistently. “My conclusion, after many weeks of travel and studying this topic, is that this has become a global siren call for companies all over the world. Corporate well-being is a bit of a crisis, and we have to take a holistic view,” explains Josh.

To help CEOs and CHROs take action on employee wellbeing together, we created Your guide to a successful employee wellbeing strategy: Practical tips for the modern workplace. In it, you’ll find more research on why employee wellbeing should be a focus now, what wellbeing at work means today, how to overcome the top challenges to workplace wellbeing, and how to plan, measure and launch your wellbeing strategy.


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