Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos. How to win friends and sway the boardOn 23 Oct 2001 in Personnel Today This month’s Boardroom HR conference, organised by Personnel Today and TMPWorldwide, saw HR directors go on the offensive on people issues. Subjectsdiscussed included the role of technology and raising the stakes on humancapital issues. Noel O’Reilly reportsPriests and politicians think they can change the world – I believe HRcan.” So said Andrew Banks, CEO of TMP Worldwide, at this month’sBoardroom HR event. Banks was not the only speaker who was prepared to thinkbig. Clare Chapman, Tesco HR director told delegates, for example, “Itreally does feel like we need to be visionaries around the social front.” Chapman was talking about how the retailer has transformed the perception ofpart-time employment from the lowest rung on the ladder to an approach toflexible working which matches the needs of the company with those ofemployees. It has helped Tesco change its employee value proposition in asector where recruitment and retention are a major issue. Another message from Chapman was to go on the offensive and this was echoedby other speakers and delegates over the two-day event in Birmingham’s ICC,organised by Personnel Today and TMP Worldwide. Chapman even went so far as tosay, “Be prepared to be bold and be prepared to be fired.” In this forum, at least, the notion of HR with attitude got the backing ofCEOs. First, chief executive of TMP Worldwide recruiting, Andrew Banks, told HRpeople to “Be tough on your leaders”. Later, Paul Carter, managingdirector of Rolls Royce Combustion Systems advised delegates to follow the oldadage and “Ask for forgiveness rather than permission for something youhave to do”. Recurrent themes during the event were HR outsourcing, the Internet,measuring HR’s impact, how to influence the board and how to lead linemanagers. The outsourcing option was explained eloquently by Nick Starritt,former HR director at BP. Some of the implications of HR outsourcing and thenew delivery channels are very far-reaching indeed. Starritt ruminated on howHR data could eventually be used to develop a kind of human capital index whichcould be presented to shareholders and used to determine a company’s marketcapitalisation. And Vance Kearney, no fan of outsourcing, pointed out that Internet-based HRdata is lifting HR up the pecking order in organisations. But he warneddelegates not to let power go to their heads. His view of HR is that it is”just another service function”. He sees its role as giving advice,problem solving and communication. Others seemed to disagree. Paul Kearns, senior partner at Personnel Works,argued that the key role of HR strategists was organisational design. Whether you see your role as change manager or as the provider of ever moreglobal and sophisticated HR systems, there was plenty to think about at theevent, and I look forward to hearing how the debate has moved on at next year’sone. Delegates’ views on how to influence the board– Find an issue the board isinterested in, preferably revenue generating, and not HR for its own sake.– Get an influential board member toput a subject on the table for you.– Exploit the fear factor, –”This is what will happen if we don’t…”– Identify how an issue will have animpact on board members personally.– Get the timing right. – Make sure you have supporting datafor your argument before you engage board members in debate. – Begin influencing executivesoutside the boardroom. – Know the board members asindividuals and what they want at heart. – Focus on ways to increase shareprice.– Have as many senior peopleimplicated as possible when you report on a decision you have made. – Go into the board meeting withanother board member in support. – Bring the debate back to theindustry regulator to support your objectives.– Influence the influencers in theorganisation – not just the board. – In some sectors culture and valuescome above cost issues – the voluntarysector, for example.
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