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Research Report

The CHRO as a growth executive


In brief

  • Companies that harness the power of data, people and tech can unlock growth, boost revenue, and accelerate reinvention.
  • Key to these efforts is an empowered CHRO who fuels tech-driven insights and boundaryless collaboration to place business strategy in high resolution.
  • We've identified specific actions companies can take to cultivate these "High-Res" CHROs- and to reap the benefits they can bring to your organization.


That’s the possible premium on top-line productivity-the ultimate driver of profitability and growth-that companies stand to gain if they unlock the power of data, tech and people.


of CEOs say the CHRO should play a central role in driving long-term profitable growth.


of CHROs have both the profile and the conditions they need to act as High-Res CHROs.

CHROs are the nexus of growth

Companies that are focused on leveraging the full potential of data, technology and people are operating in the top quartile of their respective industries.

With unprecedented access to data, enabled by cloud solutions, executives are discovering powerful ways to lead change within the organization and beyond.

Who is at the center of these forces? Chief Human Resources Officers (CHROs). With their skills and enterprise-wide impact, a new type of CHRO is stepping up to lead their C-suite peers in connecting data, technology and people—and cultivating collaboration.

Vital to creating the digital enterprise, they are bringing business growth and exceptional human experiences into higher resolution. These "High-Res" CHROs are driving continuous reinvention by finding new streams of value in every corner of the organization.

You need to look at your CHRO as being a business leader who’s driving your growth and reinvention. And you need to empower them to follow through on that mandate.

JULIE SWEET / Accenture Chair & CEO

Spotting a High-Res CHRO

Compared to other CHROs, High-Res CHROs are more likely to be at the top level of proficiency across six critical skills measured in our research: systems thinking, financial acumen, leadership, technology and data, strategic talent development and business acumen.

High-Res CHROs are four times more likely to have strong relationships of mutual influence across the entire C-suite, starting with the CEO and particularly with the CFO, CTO and COO. They also build networks externally across organizations and industries to influence broader change beyond their companies. The resulting collaborations enable innovation to build competitive advantage.

Supporting a High-Res CHRO

Even if CHROs have the right skills and connections, we’ve found that 55% lack the conditions to affect business growth. How can companies create the optimal environment for High-Res CHROs?

Prioritize people

Talent is a key force for change and competitive differentiation. All C-suite leaders (not just the CHRO) must ask a simple question—Are people Net Better Off working here?—and take personal accountability for the answer.

Enable boundaryless collaboration, powered by data

Reinvention can only happen when leaders break free of their silos. CEOs must position CHROs as central to the decisions that impact P&L and shape long-term profitable growth. This requires involving them in areas outside the typical HR purview, such as capital allocation and product innovation, alongside their core remit to access and create talent and unlock people’s potential.

Putting the forces of change to work

Our research shows that High-Res CHROs are accelerating growth by accessing and creating talent in innovative ways, connecting new dimensions of data, tech and people to unlock people's potential, and leading reinvention beyond the HR function. Every C-suite leader should be talking about how to tap into and empower the CHRO as a growth executive. Consider these four questions:

1. Does our culture enable, recognize and reward leaders to think and act beyond their title to drive growth in new ways?

2. Do our leaders possess the right data and technology skills (supported by the right processes and tools) to accelerate change together?

3. Do we have unique strategies to access talent, create talent and unlock people’s potential?

4. Are people Net Better Off working at our company, where all leaders take accountability for this commitment?

Are you ready to join the 5%?

Future success requires reinvention today. It all starts with connecting data, technology and people—but it takes the right skills and environment for those connections to truly matter, both within the company and beyond. Reaching the top 5% requires bold leadership—not only from a High-Res CHRO, but from each member of the C-suite. Every executive must be a growth executive.


Ellyn Shook

Chief Leadership & Human Resources Officer

Yusuf Tayob

Group Chief Executive – Operations