Insights Blog



By QLK Team
on Jun 28, 2021
  • Blog
The Critical (and Often Ignored) Bond Between CEOs and CHROs

CEOs of healthcare firms must ask themselves one critical question: who's responsible for bringing value to their business?

One (incorrect) answer could be the framework or system built that allows for plug-and-play type efficiency, productivity, and profit-building. But that response would be as short-sighted as it is cynical.

Who's responsible for creating those processes and systems that equip healthcare companies for success?

Before answering, keeping in mind, a business does not function optimally or create value just because it exists. Nor can some magical machine pump out profits at the press of a button.

Instead, it's all about the people involved.

While most CEOs do grasp the above concept, they continue to struggle with the human capital element of their business

What could be causing this disconnect?

Many healthcare CEOs (and in other industries, for that matter) don't view HR as equals. More to the point, they don't see human resources as a generator of revenue.

Why is it a Mistake to Ignore Your HR Leader

At first, looking at the functions of an HR department doesn't bring one's mind immediately to revenue.

It's an understandable mistake when you aren't a top executive. The department is centered around hiring, workplace policies, conduct, and culture. None of those responsibilities has anything - directly - to do with marketing, selling, or encouraging profits.

As such, many CEOs rate HR as the 8th or 9th most crucial function of their organization.

Furthermore, Chief Human Resources Officers (CHROs) are often cannon fodder for CEOs and are frequently mistreated and fired.

Yet, digging beyond the surface shows the impact HR has on your healthcare firm's long-term success. A high-functioning human resources department lays the foundation with top-tier hiring practices and building your workplace culture. Both factors are integral to a company's ability to profit.

How to Improve the Relation Between CEOs and CHROs

While there's no doubting the role a top-performing HR department plays in your healthcare firm's success, there's a need to make things more concrete. When a talent's contributions to your company are too abstract, it's bound to create confusion about what they're really doing.

Therefore, CEOs and CHROs at healthcare firms need to sit down and hash out their relationship.

More specifically, they need to define how HR departments can become profit centers.

Below is a list of traits (inspired by The Biz Coach) that a CEO should seek from their CHRO:

An Expert Strategist:

  • Hire someone who's on top of current best practices.
  • Look for a forward thinker who will share concepts based on the long-term.
  • Someone who values employee morale will make a big-picture impact since high employee morale drives profits.

A Masterful Time Manager:

  • You need a CHRO who understands the value of time efficiency and how to avoid costly delays when implementing business improvements.

A finance-first thinker:

  • Your CHRO should align employee incentives with market-based challenges, with each decision being an investment into your future, not just a needless expense.

A chameleon:

The Success of Your Relationship with HR Depends on the Person You Hire

With the above section in mind, it's clear that a healthcare CEO can shape and mold their HR department by honing their relationship with the CHRO.

There is a caveat: you need to hire an executive-level HR talent that's up to the challenge and willing to work toward a shared vision with their CEO.


Where can you find that top-level talent? By partnering with QLK and gaining access to world-class executive healthcare talent. Contact us today to find out more.