Company-wide policy raises the profile of HR

Embedding leadership strategies within the corporate structure of companies can raise the profile and credibility of HR departments, according to a revolutionary company pilot scheme.

The technology corporation Britax – which takes on contracts as diverse as child safety buggies and refurbishing aircraft – has been developing a company-wide leadership policy over the past six months in association with the charitable foundation the Leadership Trust.

It has been revealed that the policy involving ideas such as intranet-based e-learning and training selected staff with board members raised the profile of the company’s HR department.

Group HR director Gill Stormont said, “In some companies, the HR department may not always be taken entirely seriously.

“But this new project meant that we were given enormous recognition in the board room and at all other levels of the company.”

Stormont said the initiative had already made an impact on the company’s balance books.

She added, “It is early days yet, but it certainly has improved relationships with our customers.”

Project coordinator Simon Hollington, of the Leadership Trust, said the fledgling scheme is improving relations with company management by encouraging staff to manage upwards.

He said, “It can be very lonely at the top. But we found when staff began to tell board members what their problems were, it made life easier for them.

“Relations between management and their employees suddenly began to improve because each knew what the other was going through.”

Britax consists of 34 companies and employs 7,500 people across the UK, Europe, US and Australia and initially adopted the strategy to define its corporate identity.

Hollington said, “The company is totally committed. We drew up a plan and then found ourselves having to rewrite it a few weeks later after our feedback sessions. It’s been a learning experience for us as well.”

The Leadership Trust is based in Ross-On-Wye and is committed to promoting leadership skills within society as a whole.

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