HR Hartley

Table-talk will not lead to strategic HR

Sitting for lunch at London’s celeb-studded Ivy restaurant for a
presentation by Michael Portillo on the future of work (claiming other people’s
anecdotes as his own), I turned to an HR consultant and began discussing how
good HR people were at sitting around tables discussing HR matters.

More specifically, HR excels at jabbering on about how great it would be if
the rest of the business allowed it to become a strategic entity.

But here’s the hard fact: lounging around debating how unfair the rest of
the company is being to you really won’t do the HR industry any good.

We have to take those nasty bullies on. I mean, you wouldn’t hear a bunch of
finance people around a table worrying about how strategic they are. They’d be
all action – they don’t have the same inferiority complex that we have.

Enough’s enough. Here’s my (and fellow diner, Laurence’s) five-point plan to
make HR a strategic entity:

– Have your vision

– Find your burning platform (any old boardroom will do)

– Articulate that vision nice and clearly – make it relevant and intelligible
to the others because they won’t do that for you

– Check your capability – it’s no good if the practice can’t reflect the

– Set short-term goals – for example, 90 days, not three years.

Job done. Let me know if it works. If it does, the next time I step out of
the Ivy, I expect the paparazzi to take a blind bit of notice, which last time,
they utterly failed to do.

Hartley is an HR director at large

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