Leeson case shows crucial role for HR

I read the feature on Nick Leeson (Rogue to recovery, Personnel Today, 20 September) with great interest as my mother was an employee of Barings Bank at the time of its collapse. I remember phoning her before she left for work at the time and she said: “There’s no way that one person could do that.”

But of course, that’s exactly what had happened.

Your feature demonstrates that employees are not simply cogs in a machine that will keep turning no matter what. HR has a vital role here (as well as an ethical responsibility) in raising managers’ awareness of the importance of ‘people-maintenance’ activities, and supporting them in this when necessary.

The Leeson/Barings case highlights just how crucial HR practices are to organisational performance, covering issues such as recruitment and selection, training and development, performance management, work-life balance, employee relations, organisational culture and so on. This certainly proves HR’s potential value to organisations, but have the lessons been learned?

Sarah Lucas
Personnel and training manager, Social Security Department, Guernsey

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