HR directors urged to ‘adapt or die’

If
the profession fails to define its turf now, someone else will do it for them,
HR directors were warned today.

“Standing
still is a terminal illness for you, your colleagues and the business,” said
Larry Hochman, change expert and a UK pioneer of senior-level mentoring,
addressing the Personnel Today’s HR Directors Club in London.

“Deep
undeniable trends are under way and are permanently changing the role of HR, he
said, then asked: “Are you personally ready, together with your team, to adapt,
innovate and change?”

HR
directors’ biggest competitor, Hochman told delegates, was their own view of
the future. To survive, they had to embrace the issues relevant to their
organisations’ future and focus on linking HR to the bottom line.

“If
you don’t do this, HR will be marginalised,” he warned.

HR
could show added value if its directors focused on talent – attracting it,
retaining it, organising and capitalising on it, he said. Company chiefs would
buy into the idea because “CEO’s believe this is their legacy” Hochman said.

“New
wealth will come [to an organisation] as a result of innovation and creativity
from your most talented people. It will not come out of squeezing the last
ounce of efficiency from the old ways. You have to convince your organisation
of this. It’s your job.”

Organisations
seeking success had to become magnets for talent, he said.

He
then asked the audience: “Who among you has put in a process to ascertain why
people stay, rather than one for why people go?” No-one had.

“That’s
shocking,” said Hochman, before throwing down his next challenge: “How many of
you create jobs around people because they’re just so talented?” Again the
answer was no.

“That’s
what the smart companies do,” he said. Furthermore, HR had to focus also on
culture and values, ethics and the moral compass of their companies. “The best
companies in the world realise culture and values are their DNA. That’s your
job. You cannot contract out that out. Trust is the biggest issue. Like any
relationship, the moment that disappears it’s over. Enron went down in six
weeks. It could happen to you.”

Hochman’s
career has included 10 years in senior roles with British Airways and loyalty
management company Air Miles, in both New York and London. At Air Miles he was
director of people and culture and instigated the company’s mentoring scheme. He
is also a globally recognised expert on ethics, values and customer service.
Hochman was the sixth speaker to address the exclusive Personnel Today HR
Directors Club which has just celebrated its first birthday.

For
more information on the HR Directors Club, www.hrdirectorsclub.com

By Penny Wilson

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