Over the past decade, an increasing number of corporate boards have changed the name of the “compensation committee” to titles like “Compensation and Human Capital Committee” and “Human Resources Committee.” These changes are more than just branding: They reflect the growing importance of the HR function in achieving the company’s business strategy.

“When you think about what makes an organization really thrive, particularly in an ever-changing environment, at the core is getting the talent equation right,” says Edith Cooper, a board member at Amazon and PepsiCo and the co-founder of the coaching platform Medley. Still, most HR leaders say that they would like their board more involved in the people side of the business. In original research from Charter, 66% of HR leaders said they thought their organization’s board of directors should be playing a more active role in their talent strategy.

To better understand the expectations of boards for CHROs, I spoke with several sources with a variety of experiences inside and outside of the boardroom:

  • Cooper, a board member at Amazon and PepsiCo; a co-founder of Medley; and a former partner, EVP, and head of human capital management at Goldman Sachs.
  • Martha Brooks, a board member at Volvo Group and Constellium and a former board member at Jabil, Harley-Davidson, and International Paper.
  • Skip Maloney, SVP and CHRO at Aspen Technology.
  • Coco Brown, a board member at ArcherPoint, an insights council member at Nasdaq Center for Board Excellence, and the founder and CEO of The Athena Alliance, an executive education company.
  • Michael Useem, a professor of management at Wharton who teaches programs for mid-career professionals who serve—or want to serve—on corporate boards.

Here’s their advice on how to develop a strong relationship with your board:


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