HR needs to come out all guns blazing
When Greg Dyke left the BBC, his staff demonstrated outside the
corporation’s headquarters, brandishing placards, demanding his return.
I don’t doubt that the same would happen if I were forced to down tools. I
fear, however, few other business leaders would experience this kind of
support, and most HR directors would simply slide out of their organisation’s
back door, not with a bang, but with a whimper.
In the HR world, we endlessly discuss the ’employability’ of new recruits,
and how important it is that they offer the profession the necessary skills and
acumen to take forward the next business generation. But how often do we, this
HR generation, look in the mirror? How many characters do we have who stand out
from the crowd for their sheer dynamism and leadership qualities? You have to
admit, not many.
Sure, we’re making step changes and being recognised, in part, for the
important role we play in making organisations successful. But to wholly make
an impact and a real strategic difference, the HR profession needs to be more
visible and come out with its guns blazing.
While other departments are spraying the boardroom with anti-tank shells,
we’re scoring hits with paintballs. At least when HR was virtually confined to
industrial relations, it had a union-esque will to get involved and annoy the
bejeezus out of people. It got noticed. Nowadays, and too often, we’re
perceived as a soft, politically-correct pussycat.
We need some more charismatic leading personalities out there to champion
the profession, carve out more paths to the boardroom and make positive press
Hartley, our new weekly columnist with strong opinion, is an HR director