HR future leader of the month: Lisa Collett

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HR magazine speaks to the future leaders of the function about what they think will shape it

What are your main concerns in HR today?

According to research published by Mind, approximately one in four people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year. As a profession we need to ensure that we educate ourselves and take a proactive approach to supporting our workforce with mental ill-health.

The ‘game changer’ here is workplace culture, which as a profession we play a major part in shaping: a culture that encourages people to talk about mental health. As employers we can make a difference to our employees’ wellbeing and help them to achieve their personal and professional ambitions.

What will become more important for HR over the next five years?

We now work in an environment that is inspired by digital disruption, innovation and fast-moving change. Over the next five years, and beyond, we are going to continue to be challenged to re-think what success looks like.

As businesses work hard to remain relevant to their clients, HR has a role in attracting and retaining talent that can not only adapt to innovative change, but also develop and drive it. The skillsets we seek are changing.

This requires us as HR professionals to be strategic, innovative, and forward-thinking in our approach. It also requires us to influence the decisions of business stakeholders more quickly and become more courageous in our advice, which in some cases may feel less comfortable.

What subjects will HR still be tackling when you retire?

It will always be necessary, and challenging, to have an employee proposition that appeals to and retains the very best talent.

Future propositions will significantly vary over time, but HR will continue to have an important role in ensuring what we offer existing and future talent remains relevant and attractive.

That means as HR professionals we need to be well-connected with our competitors and keep abreast of market information and innovative employee offerings.

What do you plan to do to change HR for the better?

Ten-plus years ago it may have felt uncomfortable to challenge business leaders as to why they did not have proportionate female or ethnic representation in their talent pipelines, or question if unconscious bias existed in the decisions they were making. Hard work and commitment has seen this now become a business priority for many.

I want to help continue driving the diversity and inclusion agenda forward. HR has a fantastic opportunity to influence this by continuing to challenge the thought processes and decisions of our business stakeholders and ensuring differential investment is made for all minority populations. The objective here is to drive cultural change that gives confidence to our people to challenge ‘the way we do things’.

Lisa Collett is a senior HR business consultant at EY

Do you have a future leader in your team? Why not recognise their commitment and contribution by entering them for Future Leader of the Year at the 2018 HR Excellence awards?

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