Article: The new genre in leadership: Double-hatting


The new genre in leadership: Double-hatting

Double hatting trend is on the rise and it presents HR leaders with both opportunities and challenges. Lets have a look at it.
The new genre in leadership: Double-hatting

According to a new survey it was found that, 78.5% of Australian HR executives are double hatting in their current role.

The 6th issue of People Matters had an exhaustive cover story on Travails of Team Building which bought light into how HR Leaders blends business context with people management. For e.g., take the case of Rajiv Jayaraman who started KNOLSKAPE. He wore two crowns of Business Developer as well as a Product Developer. This is what Double Hatting is all about. Other entrepreneurs in this league are Sarvesh Agarwal, Founder and CEO, Internshala, Ankur Singla, Founder and CEO, Helpchat, Ankur Warikoo, CoFounder and CEO, Nearbuy (formerly Groupon India).

MD and Founder of HR partners, David Owens observed that there follows a trend behind the rise of double hatting and there must be a "win-win" in the entire process. It is a golden opportunity for the HR department to show how indispensable they are for the organisation and a great way to justify their hard earned remuneration package. "It is widespread in multinational corporations and 87% of respondents believe it is a permanent feature of the landscape", said Owens.

With today’s cut throat competition, every organisation has a vision to be ahead of the pack and for this, HRs who are the architectures of any company should evolve. They should act as a business unit accountable to the CEO for the success of the organization. They should be responsible not only for the administrative talent agenda but also for strategic talent agenda. This includes all aspects at all levels including the C-suite. "An effective C-suite leader should act like a CEO", said John Berisford, former McGraw-Hill Financial CHRO and now President of Standard & Poor’s. 

Next Gen HR

Often HRs are considered to be able to deal with only the softer side of the business as they are diplomatic and positive in outlook. But today HRs should act as the shadow of the CEO of the company. They should be adding value to every function in the company functioning as a solution provider than merely indulge themselves in reducing head count. 

Talking of their double-hatting role, HRs today should be highly enduring strategic advisors. Building a high functional-executive team is a challenge for any organisation as it is the foundation behind execution of any successful business strategy. Previously, it was the CEOs who used to lead the team and was responsible for collaboration and alignment which is highly impossible now for them with their tight travel and meeting schedules and many other complexities. This is when HRs should enter the fray acting as a big cheese to drive the company's talent operations like leadership development, performance management, learning and development, succession planning and many other strategic contributions. 

Listing some of the dual responsibilties of todays HRs in a nutshell.

  • To build a high-functional leadership team with the CEO
  • Must drive the company's talent solution operations
  • To act as an advisor to the CEO on various key people issues
  • To be able to provide human capital solutions to their company
  • Should have a keen eye on business strategy solutions
  • Should have a strong metrics driven HR plan in accordance to the CEO
  • Monitor various results and modify HR strategy and tactics
  • On occasion of acquisition, HRs should be able to counsel any employees of the acquired company to build strong peer relationships with the larger company. 

What happens when HR wears 2 hats?

Growth, growth and more growth of the company. It was found that when HRs develops well executed business plans there is a rise in employee performance by 22%, employee retention by 24%, revenue growth by 7% and profit by 9%. 

Like every coin has two sides, double hatting can at times become a double edge sword. To juggle between the management and strategic business approaches of the organization requires lot of nerve as fulfilling dual role is not always easy and also not everyone’s cup of tea. The main obstacle with double hatting approach is the expectation on a broad spectrum. 

This might also compel the HRs to lend a blind eye to their primary responsibilities like hiring, work culture, compensation and benefits, compliance, employee relations etc. leaving all at a peril. 

To accept this dual role one has to be highly skilled  and a truly committed worker otherwise workplace stress and unhappiness are sure to follow, said David Owens1. People will wear out causing a steering ripple in the quality of work and ability to support as no normal human being can excel in both roles with an ease. 

While most of the senior HR professionals are double hatting in their present role, a majority of them are not paid luxuriously for their extra work. According to a survey1 conducted by HR partners in conjunction wit inside HR magazine, it was found that 90% of professionals who double hat do not get paid anymore for doing that. However, more than half (55%) of HR executives who currently double hat are in the $200K plus remuneration range. 

So are you ready to double hat in your organization?  I leave it to you to decide if double hatting is good or probably not? or Is it only for hyper-achievers?

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Topics: Leadership

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