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Expanding remits of HR Directors?

In the latest issue of People Management (July 10) there is an interesting article about some senior HR people whose job titles have changed to reflect their wider remit ( More than word play ) . The article explores what this might mean for the profession.

My view is that this probably says more about the talents of the people interviewed – Gillian Hibberd of Buckinghamshire County Council, for instance, whom I have met a number of times and is a leading light in PPMA, the public sector People Managers Association. Yes, a key driver for a wider remit is reducing costs, particularly in the public sector, but my view is closer to that expressed in the article by Peter Reilly. My guess is that for those cited in the article the broader remit is more to do with their personal talents and their employer’s desire to retain them as individuals than a broader trend.

In fact one of my beefs about the profession is that so much ‘extraneous’ stuff gets dumped on HR (because ‘it affects people’) that it dilutes the focus and effectiveness of the function. Green issues, CSR, business continuity are just some of the ‘opportunities’ that the HR press sees for HR to take the lead on. Yes, they do affect people working for the organisation and HR can contribute, but not necessarily take the lead (especially if no one else wants them!)

More fundamental aspects of delivering the business plan for HR are organisational development and implementing organisational change, which can encompass internal communications. This is where HR can really deliver benefits for an organisation through its influence and expertise, but HR practitioners need the knowledge and skills to do this well – and therein lies the rub….!


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