Senior HR chiefs drive through change

Senior HR executives from both ends of the corporate scale last week highlighted their different approaches to business change.

Change management is high on the agenda for many HR departments in the UK. Cost-cutting and efficiency are the key aims – even for non-profit organisations.

Janice Cook, HR director at children’s charity NCH, has been overseeing the modernisation of the HR function as the organisation strives to become more business-like.

“We have split the function into local management teams that are to work with the business to achieve goals,” she said. “We carry out a lot of research to ensure that every major decision we make is backed up with evidence.

“As a charity, we must only spend on initiatives that will make a difference – every pound spent on the business is one pound that doesn’t go to the children that need it,” Cook added.

For Kath Lowey, the UK head of HR for telecoms firm Marconi, change has been a driver for turning the company’s fortunes around following the dotcom crash.

The Marconi HR team has been slimmed down, centralised and stripped of specific roles, she said.

“Members of the team are now involved in all aspects of the business,” Lowey said. “We aim to develop quality people and hasten their development into business consultants within the company.”

Both HR directors spoke to Personnel Today at the London launch of Transforming HR, a new book aimed at guiding HR practitioners through change.

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