Arianna Huffington says CHROs are carrying a heavy burden

The founder of Thrive Global says CEOs are leaning on HR leaders more now than ever before.  

Thrive Global  founder and CEO Arianna Huffington has penned an article for Havard Business Review in which she explains how some of the world’s top CHROs are stepping up to the challenge of dealing with Covid-19. With her company working with various organisations throughout the crisis, she says they ha seen first-hand just how heavy a burden HR leaders were carrying. 

The article mentions that Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg and CHRO Christy Pambianchi talk to all 135,000 of their employees at noon every day on a live webcast, and Accenture Chief Leadership and Human Resources Officer Ellyn Shook now meets virtually with company leaders twice a week instead of having quarterly in-person meetings.

“Compassion and empathy can no longer be seen as extra, nice-to-have qualities; they are essential. CHROs and HR teams must lead by example, starting every conversation with simple, direct questions, like, “How are you?” “How is your family?” “Are you ok?” We must give people room to share what otherwise might be kept private — and respect when people decide not to share what they’re going through,” writes Arianna,  adding that  women and minority groups would continue to be disproportionately affected by the virus.

Meanwhile, companies cannot ignore the impact on mental wellness when extroverts are being forced to work from home and introverts are also having to adjust to the social demands of remote working.

Writes Arianna: “Many employees are reeling from financial losses and layoffs in their families. Some are grieving the death of loved ones. Many have been sick themselves or have struggled with mental health challenges. Before we even begin to talk about business, we need to open the door to these conversations in authentic, compassionate ways, and keep that door open.”