Where Should HR Report To?


I hate ending a sentence with a preposition but I want to know where HR should report to?

Hoity-toity HR people think that HR should report to the CEO. That’s all fine and good but reporting to the CEO means that HR is trusted, has autonomy and the ability to shape its own agenda, and has the credibility within the organization to craft policy and initiatves. That’s rarely true. Often times, HR reports to the CEO and then it fails to deliver on key agenda items because it’s still not seen as a function that has the power and authority to boss the CFO and CMO and CIO around. Board-level politics ensue. It gets ugly.

Wishy-washy HR professionals will say that it’s okay for HR to report into Finance or Ops. Hm. What does it say about HR when the function has to ask for permission before doing real work? It says that we’re willing to hear the word NO. God knows I’m not about to listen to some CIO or CFO with a high spectrum neurological disorder and adult ADHD tell me about the company’s people agenda. I once had a chief auditor — who couldn’t look me in the eye — tell me about performance reviews. Never again.

Delusional people say that HR should report into recruiting. Have you ever worked with recruiters? Narcissists. Fools. And they’re always broke. Yeah, my compensation team will report into a recruiter when hell freezes over.

The real answer? HR as a function can’t win. This is the problem I have with animal rescue. It’s cool to rescue puppies and kittens…

…but nothing changes until we stop the cycle of breeding animals and flooding the market with unwanted pets. Spay and neuter policy — and strict regulation and taxation of animal breeders — is the only way to stop the insanity.

And in HR, we should stop our own insanity and push our C-level executives and leaders to stop being wimps, accept responsibility for managing people, and get out of the way.

And we should neuter the awful leaders in our company. We have that power. We choose not to exercise it because we don’t have ‘buy in’ from our business partners.

But we need to train, Laurie! We need to arm our colleagues with tools!

Right. Okay. Whatevs. You continue to further the HR-as-mom agenda. I’ll be over here stabbing that model in the face.

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