How would you sum up HR professionals in three words?
Change Leaders – if you do your job well and know your business, you have a helicopter view across the business and are uniquely placed to connect all the dots and make a real difference to how your business operates and the lives of its employees.
Magicians – you need to be able to magic up solutions to problems and develop strategic initiatives often while being under-resourced, over-committed and time poor – and while having the on-going debate about what HR really is all about.
Resilient – you have to be able to cope with whatever is thrown at you and deal with every type of person and situation you can imagine (and then some).
What is the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Focus on the “One Percenters” – if you make continuous small incremental changes for good you’ll be amazed at how much and what you can achieve (and make stick). I’ve used this for changing culture in the work context, improving working relationships and for things like training for a triathlon - it makes big changes or challenges a lot more achievable (and you’ll have fun)
What are some of the biggest challenges HR deals with?
Being seen as only dealing with the soft “people issues or problems” and therefore not being seen as a strategic player who knows about business and in particular your business. This can mean you’re not always involved in issues or initiatives from the beginning.
Balancing the compliance and the coaching roles – managing risk for your company and ensuring compliance with legislation while coaching and empowering your managers and executive team to manage their teams and their business.
Having breadth and depth of knowledge – you need to know the technical HR stuff in depth and also have a breadth of understanding about business and how it operates to make sure you deliver the right HR strategies and initiatives.
How do you see the role of HR changing in the future?
After spending two days with 75 HR Advisors at our recent conference I would say that HR professionals are changing and therefore the role will change – it will still need to make sure the operational elements are covered but the HRA’s I met are much more focussed on understanding the business and how it works, working alongside managers as business coaches (so extending the mandate outside of traditional people issues) and engaging themselves in continuous learning
and improvement to make sure they are bringing new ideas and innovation to the business.
What’s your favoured style of coffee?
Trim Latte definitely
If you could invite three people to dinner, dead or alive, and excluding family and friends, who would they be and why?
Jamie Oliver – firstly so he could cook us a yummy relaxed dinner and secondly to discuss his Food Revolution and all the work he is doing around child nutrition in the UK and US.
Christian Pol Roger – so he could bring the champagne (and maybe some back vintages). I went to a Pol Roger tasting years ago and he had lots of very entertaining stories.
Audrey Hepburn – she is one of my favourite actresses and would bring a sense of style and sophistication to the evening.
Complete this sentence: If I wasn’t in HR, I would be…
An event manager - with a gorgeous country estate where we’d hold fabulous amazing weddings and corporate events.
Elephant HR’s national business manager, Lisa Hunter, draws on more than a decade of knowledge from working within HR to provide support to businesses and facilitate HR and management training. She shares her thoughts on the profession.