An operations director I met recently said his role was often seen as ‘henchman, hitman and stunt double for the chief exec’. Not that dissimilar to how HR directors can be perceived; although also not a description many of us would love, for all its implicit closeness to the chief executive.
But it does raise questions about where HRDs genuinely impact the organisation – and how. At a recent CIPD HR Leaders’ Network event, one HRD, alluding to the confidence or otherwise of HR, quoted the message she gives to her team: Go hard or go home.
This is not to pitch overboard the emotional intelligence, behavioural nous or people insights which are the function’s unique contribution; rather, I think, it encourages HR teams to be much bolder about that contribution, about the specific value and deep change it can bring to the business: ‘Own the space – demand it, fill it and keep filling it.’