The director general of the Institute of Management has claimed HR managers are key to maintaining competitiveness in the new business age.
Mary Chapman said HR departments are essential to the success in the competitive business climate generated by the advent of the Internet and IT boom.
Chapman urged companies to sharpen their management and training techniques or face losing their competitive edge.
She said HR people should develop strategic training programmes to promote the leadership skills essential in the "flat" organisations which are commonplace in the business world.
She urged HR managers to seize the opportunity created by the new, dynamic knowledge economy to redefine their company's identity through training and reinforcement of the corporate vision.
She said, "The new economy has put a lot of pressure on companies - there are huge opportunities but companies that do not adapt are likely to miss out and become less profitable.
"The role of the HR manager is crucial. Those companies that make management development part of their strategy are the ones that are being successful financially."