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HR professionals need to evolve, says professor at seminar

The early morning presentation which took place at The Ivy recently was attended by HR Directors from many varying industry fields, keen to hear if Prof Sparrow had a new insight into how change would affect their roles within companies, and he did.

The Professor of International Human Resource Management from Lancaster University Management School stated that the best technical practices in the world are useless unless they are engaged with the boardroom’s vision and in order to achieve engagement, HR needs to build relationships with the other departments and maintain credibility.

In order to do this Prof Sparrow pointed out that HR needs to know its workforce and pin point how it can help it to be productive but also satisfied. He used McDonalds as an example of an organisation that has learned about customer oriented employees.  Their data showed that staff could actually be dissatisfied, but could still be customer orientated.  Overall, engagement was however high, but in order to be engaged, they had to feel they were resourced within their jobs, they were happier and thus customer satisfaction increased.

In the case of McDonalds such results were trackable due to the nature of the work process Prof Sparrow said HR needs to capture employee productivity and satisfaction data no matter what the company does, however there is no one recipe fix for all companies.

Collecting data about ones’ employees and customers gives a company invaluable insight. Prof Sparrow indicated that we are still at the very early stages of using HR analytics and to build this capability properly it may even take three to five years. This is a challenge for HR departments as others within the company will question the lack of capability, and management will need to be patient as the process may not be fast enough to meet their needs.

Prof Sparrow is positive that Human Resources professionals can retool themselves to make the process run smoothly, and work with other departments so that they too buy into coherent and believed in HR strategies.

Our engaging speaker gave examples of other collaborative approaches which he named “Beyond the Organisation” where partners co-operate to get results. Using the NHS as an example Paul pointed out that such organisations work with councils and social services, in order to achieve a greater overall result beyond an individual organisation. In this respect responsibility for a collaborative approach is essential as is accountability.

Internally HR can be the lynch pin for cross organisational agendas and demonstrate that it can understand the issues of risk, governance and capability. By maintaining such a position in a company and sharpening its project management skills HR professionals can innovate and demonstrate their full capacity to build their own successful future and that of the company they represent.

In the questions that ensued the enlightening seminar, Prof Sparrow answered with enthusiasm guests’ queries about how HR will evolve. He recommended that in HR becoming a generalist champion of organisational effectiveness it will thrive within a business. By recognising the company’s challenges in terms of innovation, customer centricity, lean management, social responsibility and globalisation, HR can work interdepartmentally and be a real backbone for the company.

Commenting on the successful seminar, Tom Simons, Head of HR Moves says, “We were delighted to host such a pertinent talk in conjunction with Prof Sparrow. What he has raised is of real importance to those working in our profession. Human Resources professionals have an exciting period of change ahead but evolution is good and we are feeling very positive about the future.”  

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