In an episode that critiques HR, Chris Taylor talks to Severn Trent’s Neil Morrison about whether the profession is too process driven and whether working from home is truly the future of work.
Neil Morrison is director of HR for FTSE 100 water company, Severn Trent plc, where he is responsible for the people function as well as the internal and external communications and marketing teams.
Considered one of the UK’s most influential HR leaders, Neil often delivers scathing assessments of the profession’s obsession with self-serving and inward-looking debates such as working from home, whilst seemingly ignoring big issues such as maintaining employment, treating employees well, and contributing to building successful organisations.
This episode of the Oven-Ready HR podcast covers:
- Is HR fiddling whilst Rome burns? [08:20] – He says HR is obsessed with how many days people are working from home and gives a withering assessment of many HR practitioners’ current focus.
- Is HR right to bemoan a lack of C-suite influence? [11:16] – Neil has no sympathy for HR practitioners who moan about not being at the top table. It is HR’s continued focus on process and not strategy that is often the root cause of this.
- Lancing the working from home boil [14:28] – Working from home is largely irrelevant for vast swathes of the workforce as they are unable to perform their roles remotely. Neil believes the debate is largely centred on London and the South East of the UK and should not, in his opinion, be taken as the definitive answer to the future of work.
- Is HR too process driven? [19:26] – Neil argues the starting point is to decide why the policy is needed in the first place. If it’s there to help the employee understand how the business runs and how they can be successful then its useful.
- How can HR be more loved by organisations [21:44] – Neil argues it’s all about the mindset of HR. HR professionals have to have empathy, otherwise we fall in to the “computer says no” mentality.