HR directors must be part of the ‘top team’On 9 Jul 2002 in Personnel Today My experiences of working with CEOs and business leaders, as well as runninga large professional services firm, have convinced me of the need for HR to bea significant part of a company’s strategic agenda. We have made considerable progress at Deloitte & Touche, but there isstill room for improvement in many companies. If the top management team is tofully appreciate the value of intellectual capital, the profile of HR – as animportant commercial function within the business – must grow. Our recent global survey shows that 75 per cent of senior executives rankhuman performance as a source of competitive strength, ahead of productivityand technology. And, 80 per cent believe the ability to attract and retain thebest people will be the primary focus for influencing business strategy by 2005.But HR still has some way to go before it is fully recognised as a‘value-adder’ by the rest of the business. An indicator of just how far is thatless than one in five of the FTSE 100 have their HR director on the board.While board presence is not essential for the HR director, a strongrelationship with the top team is. Direct access to the decision-makers and the opportunity to influencecommercial decisions is vital. Many companies are correctly claiming ‘peopleare their greatest assets’, but HR professionals don’t always seize theopportunities to strengthen these relationships. To address this, HR directors should be seeking to raise awareness of thepeople-related impact of business decisions – the input of HR can make asignificant difference to the success or failure of that decision. A goodrelationship between the HR director and CEO gives HR access to the top teamand the chance to get involved in key business decisions. Clearly, HR must beinvolved in all areas of the business to be truly effective and relevant and ifa CEO sees HR as a priority, the rest of the business is likely to follow. HR is often accused of lacking business direction. A strategic HR functionconcentrates on practicalities and demands, and if successful, it creates anorganisation that allows people to fulfil the business’ needs. HR directors also need to be business managers. As well as being commercialand pragmatic, they need to have the ability to draw people strategies from thebusiness objectives. Those with experience outside HR are increasingly indemand because they benefit from wider leadership skills and enhanced businessknowledge. Finally, for HR to be seen as an integral part of the strategic debate, itsleaders need to quantify and communicate the contribution they make. It meansHR directors have to become part of the top team and share responsibility fororganisational performance. By John Connolly, Chief executive and senior partner, Deloitte &Touche Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos.