Human Resources
Developing the Next Generation of CHROs: The Learning to Fly Study

Developing the Next Generation of CHROs: The "Learning to Fly" Study


Aon Hewitt's advisory group of clients the Human Capital Leadership Council (HCLC) came together and asked the question: Is HR developing its own leaders to tackle the challenges of a dynamic environment? Aon Hewitt embarked upon gaining insights in the form of this study: Learning to Fly.

We interviewed 45 CHROs from across the globe about their journey to the CHRO position. How did they prepare? What surprised them in a good way? How did they deal with different stakeholders? What wisdom would they pass on to the next generation of CHROs?

The Learning to Fly study was a collaboration between the Performance, Reward & Talent practice, and the Aon Strategic Advisors and Transaction Solutions practice. The Aon Hewitt CHRO study originated from our latest HCLC leadership conference, and chronicles the journey to becoming a CHRO the most senior HR leadership position. Forty-five CHROs were interviewed, surveyed, and assessed by consultants over the course of 16 weeks (late 2014 to early 2015). CHROs were asked to discuss how they came into their role, give advice for future leaders, and describe how emerging trends over a three- to five-year horizon will impact their CHRO role in the future.

The 45 participating CHROs currently head up organizations in the U.S., Europe, Asia, and
Australia, allowing them to share HR career perspectives from a global framework. The median work experience of the CHROs was 26 years, giving breadth and depth to the ideas and strategies captured in the report. In addition, the organizations represented in this report have remained highly competitive fiscally; one-third of the companies represented are listed in the Fortune 500. Collectively, these organizations represent $1.25 trillion in annual revenue, with 3.35 million employees managed by the CHROs.


New! Developing the Next Generation of CHROs in Higher Education

The Higher Education industry is currently in flux and will continue to be so as more Americans pursue college degrees and tuition costs rise (see sidebar). Not only are there more students, but the bar for a quality education is undeniably set high. At the same time, emerging technologies such as massively open online courses (MOOCs) continue to influence the industry.

What does this mean for CHROs in the Higher Education industry?

  • HR leaders will have to initiate new programs and update processes that have been in place for years
  • Change management with staff and faculty will become increasingly important as CHROs introduce new systems and seek to increase the inherent utility of their function*
  • HR analytics and technologies will become indispensable as the Higher Education industry starts to become less paperform-based to being technologically enabled

Last year, Aon Hewitt conducted a study focused on the question, “Is HR developing its own leaders to tackle the challenges of a dynamic corporate environment?” This year, we focus on Higher Education to compare these seemingly disparate yet ultimately similar leaders.

Click here or use the download button to the right to download the highlights report.

Click here to view a replay of our webinar, "Learning to Fly - Developing the Next Generation of CHROs in Higher Education".



* For the purposes of this study we referred to heads of HR in Higher Education as CHROs, although we found various titles for heads of HR, including VP of HR, Senior Director of HR, etc.


Developing the Next Generation of CHROs: Highlights Report

Developing the Next Generation of CHROs: Full Report

Developing the Next Generation of CHROs in Higher Education

Developing the Next Generation of CHROs: Infographic