The chief human resource officer’s day has finally arrived. Or at least, it should, according to John Stacey, chief HR officer for Harman International. When he joined Harman in 2008, the company did not have a great track record as far as human resources working in partnership with the business. In fact, his boss, CEO Dinesh Paliwal, had churned through HR executives at a fast clip at his previous company, ABB. “I knew I had a challenge ahead of me in terms of working with him,” Stacey told attendees at the 2015 CEO Talent Summit.
But Paliwal’s view changed over the next several years, as Stacey was able to demonstrate the tremendous value of a close partnership between CEO and CHRO. “We would talk first about business objectives and from that would flow people expectations” rather than the other way around, said Stacey, who is able to use the goals and objectives from Paliwal to implement resource solutions to maximize results and efficiency.
The two men speak constantly, and Stacey not only has a key place at the senior management table, but is also invited to customer meetings with Paliwal to get to know all aspects of the business. “It’s open and constant communication. Even overcommunication sometimes,” noted Stacey, who has been invited to meetings he didn’t think were germane to his position. But that communication is what enables Stacey to implement targeted personnel solutions that have helped the company nearly double its revenue to $6.5 billion and grow to 25,000-plus employees from 12,000 in 2008.