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For our next installment of the “Career Corner” series, we sat down with Ronaldo Borger, CHRO of Faegre Baker Daniels LLP and HRMAC member. Read on to learn more about his career and the advice he shares for aspiring CHROs.

“Clarity, combined with a strong value proposition, will both attract and retain the right talent to the organization.”

HR Leader: Was human resources always a career that interested you? What have been some of your favorite parts of your job? What have been some challenges you’ve faced or overcome?

Ronaldo Borger (RB): During college I quickly became interested in motivational theories, and that’s what led me to work in human resources. Some of the most important questions in HR are still about what motivates people to achieve results.

I enjoy working on complex challenges that combine the analytical and more objective aspects of the business with the human perspective. I like collaborating across functional areas and connecting the big picture with practical solutions for developing talent.

HR Leader: Do you have any tips for professionals who aspire to become a CHRO?

RB: The most obvious one is to learn about the business, understanding how HR helps the organization drive growth and profitability. It goes well beyond driving employee engagement.

Listening and communication skills are critical as you move up in the organization and it can take time and practice to develop these competencies.

I also encourage aspiring CHROs to embrace quantitative skills and data analytics. These are critical skills for senior leaders and differentiators among HR professionals.

Lastly, I encourage HR professionals to become great problem solvers. It’s a powerful skill and habit to develop, especially as challenges become more complex. Define the problem, understand your stakeholders, come up with potential solutions, identify pros and cons, and make recommendations.

HR Leader: CHROs help shape the talent of an organization. What are your top tips for addressing talent needs and desires given the tight labor market?

RB: From a recruiting perspective a big part of our role in a tight market is to help leaders articulate what they need so the roles and expectations are clear. That clarity, combined with a strong value proposition, will both attract and retain the right talent to the organization.

HR Leader: How has technology changed the role of HR? What are some important technologies that all firms should consider?

RB: The core HR technology is now present in most well-run organizations. We have robust systems and efficient processes for onboarding, talent acquisition, performance management and so on.

I am eager to see how technology will evolve in the coming years. As one example, I believe LinkedIn will soon provide AI technology that will transform talent acquisition and accelerate the process of identifying candidates. As a result, the value HR professionals bring to the process will increasingly shift to the quality of interviews and the candidate experience.

HR Leader: What is the best career advice you ever received?

RB: From a career perspective, make sure each “next step” moves you in the direction of your end goal (even if not in a straight line). In November 2018, Marc Effron wrote an article for Harvard Business Review with a good roadmap for career planning titled “A Simple Way to Map Out Your Career Ambitions.”

Another piece of advice I always keep in mind is to focus on outcomes more than process. Process is important, but we need to first understand the results and outcomes that add value to the organization. Focus on doing the right thing for clients (internal and external) and everything else will follow.

HR Leader: Share 3 articles or books you think HRMAC readers should check out.


HR Leader: What is your favorite place to visit in Chicago?

RB: Those who know me well will know the answer: Mojo Coffee at 200 South Wacker. And, during the summer, Lake Michigan and Ravinia Festival.