Employee Engagement

Leading HR to a new, bigger role.

Peter Clark

HR is changing. That’s not new. HR has changed constantly since its inception. To signal each change, a new name was invented. From Welfare Officer to Labour Manager to Personnel Department to HR Function. As the name evolved, our purpose and role grew. And now with the advent of fast-moving tech, our role is altering quicker than we’ve ever seen before. So what does this mean for an HRD?

Traditionally, an HRD has broadly had three areas of responsibility:

  1. Regulatory compliance – how to treat people within the laws
  2.  Administrative – paying people, details, promotions, process
  3. Talent Management – the employee life-cycle processes

Of course, we are simplifying the role of the HRD here. There are many more sophisticated and diverse areas of expertise. Workforce planning, closing skills-gaps, driving productivity, internal communications, organisation structure – all complex, strategic tasks. However, the basic requirements are the three mentioned above: admin, legal, and talent management.

What interests us is the fast pace that the role of the HRD seems to be morphing into something even more strategic. The movement comes with technology now being able to better use the mass swathes of data available to the HRD. The role of the HRD seems to be moving towards a new title too – the People Director.

So what’s the difference here? Is it not just a different job title? Aren’t we just being pedantic?

No, not really. The People Director, in what we’ve noted recently, seems to have shifted the role to become more strategic. And the changing title indicates they want to be perceived as more strategic too. Of course, the admin and legal side of things are still requirements but they also recognise that things are changing quickly and that they can benefit their organisation in ways that they couldn’t before. It’s an exciting time for a People Director.

So what does this mean in practical terms? A People Director wants to optimise an organisation, at all levels – processes, teams and even individuals. They want to be confident in the changes they make, using evidence to support decisions. They want to engage the entire workforce in a conversation, motivating each person to do their best. They want a lot and they’re ambitious – they want ‘talent management’ to move to a new level.

HRD’s historically haven’t had the easiest of rides within organisations. For instance, if you look at the FTSE 100, there is only one top dog in there whose previous role was in HR. This tells us something very important – that HRD’s aren’t considered as leaders and people who can make a difference at the very top. We completely disagree.

The changes that are happening now and to the job title are indicative of how the new People Director is positioning himself/herself within an organisation. It’s an aspirational title, that’s promising to deliver on the strategic side. People Directors are now looking to impact on the bottom line of the company and deliver value to the organisation. They want to link all they do to the overall business strategy and measure the impact on a wider basis than before.

And of course, how does the buzzword of big data analytics come into all this? Well, if you really want to be really strategic, you have to use all of your data and be able to analyse it, then translate this into firstly a strategy then into a reality.

The People Director is beginning to take the business strategies and translate them into people strategies. And then measure all of this and report to the board with pinpoint accuracy. Without being able to prove their strategies (which used to happen) then what’s the point?

Qlearsite is able to do all of this. We’re working with some visionary People Directors to improve everything they do and enable them to analyse, predict and implement new strategies.

We all know how much data can be scattered around a company which makes it difficult to analyse. Our product helps to combine all the data into one single view. Qlearsite brings everything together meaning you can look at it all from a strategic level and turn actions into measurable outcomes.

Do you want to be an HRD concerned with the traditional role of admin and regulation?

Or do you want to be a PD using a data-driven strategy to deliver business outcomes?

It’s time to start the conversation

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