HR Professionals – How to increase your sphere of influence

Earlier this month, DCU Business School and Professor David Collings hosted a really insightful round table on how the HR profession can go about increasing their sphere of Influence in the work place. A number of HR professionals met up to explore this topic and discuss ways of achieving optimal results and to hear the views of Shirley Kavanagh Head of Talent and Organisation Effectiveness who shared her thoughts as follows:

  • Participate in and Enable Business Strategy – HR should move from the concept of an enabler of Business Strategy to also participating in the creation of Business Strategy.
  • Ensure Organisation Effectiveness – HR needs to take a broader view of HR into thinking about the effectiveness of the Organisation as a whole. This can help to ‘land’ HR activities and make them more business relevant.  This organisation effectiveness agenda includes culture, organisation structure and design, Leadership Development and excellence in all people manager processes.
  • Build connectivity in solutions – HR must not deliver individual solutions. There should be a ‘story’, a connectedness to each solution to ensure that there are strong links to both business strategy and between solutions. Never lose sight of the objective and remind stakeholders of that objective also. Too often people get caught up in building a solution….but a solution for what?
  • HR Structure must be created to ensure collaboration, joined up solutions, and value added partnership with the Business. Build your structure based on core principles and effectiveness, this may mean making a bespoke structure that fits the culture and structure of your organisation. Remind HR Business Partners who are partnering to the Business that they must avoid going native to that culture within that business. Their strength is in ensuring alignment but maintaining objectivity.
  • For HR to influence the function must be a force of change, innovation and challenge.
  • HR must be brave!


A career in HR…

2013, 2014 and 2015 have been interesting years for the Human Resource profession, and after coming out of the recession the HR function of the business is more valued than ever.

Traditionally HR Management (or Personnel Management, as it was called up to the 1990’s) was an area that largely attracted women whose work was predominantly hands-on and operational.

Very often these people started their careers in administration functions and “fell into the role” over time. Personnel Officers and Managers were not typically degree qualified did nor did they have a place on the senior management team. They were viewed as a cost centre and rarely developed beyond middle management.

How things have changed!!

  • Tertiary qualifications (with a major in HR) are minimal acceptable standards as an entry point to most HR roles.
  • Many companies also look for CIPD membership.
  • The percentage of males graduates attracted to the profession increases year on year.
  • Whilst some smaller companies still have Generalist HR functions, bigger companies have developed operational HR shared service teams. These centralised teams work closely also side Centres of Excellence and HR Business Partners.
  • HR Directors most certainly have a place at the “top table” with attractive salaries and packages to match.
  • HR Management is no longer seen as a “necessary evil” – it now seen as a critical ingredient in the success of the business.
  • The really exciting part is that these is an increasing demand for specialists to fill the ever increasing number of specialist HR roles – such as Rewards, Org Design, HRIS, Engagement/Communications, Industrial Relations, Learning and development or Talent Management.

So if you are a 6th year student or a University graduate with an interest in business, please make sure that you give due consideration to a career in HR.

Your future is bright!!