· Features

Future leader: Niki Blaho, Pension Protection Fund

HR magazine speaks to the future leaders of the industry to discover what makes them tick.

When I first started, the business didn’t have any HR personnel and while I had ambitions to move into communications and internal PR, I found myself naturally filling this gap by picking up ad-hoc, people-related responsibilities. It was in this role where I first understood the value of HR and how important it was for HR to be central to all business operations.

What the leaders of tomorrow think:

Ish Anghotra, Rosewood London

Sarah Cousins, organisational change manager, British Heart Foundation

Toby Lott, regional people manager, PKF-Francis Clark

I believe a key challenge for HR is establishing itself as a strategic function central to organisational change and growth. Having historically played more of an administrative role, some business leaders – and in fact some HR practitioners – may not truly embrace the strategic value of HR

Employing a truly diverse talent pool presents its own challenges too. HR colleagues will need to enable people to build on their strengths and this will require continual engagement and, in some cases, tailored support for people. Due to lack of resources or understanding individuals can easily be left behind, especially people who cannot easily fit into pre-shaped boxes. 

It will be important to find new and innovative operating models that better fit with the changing expectations of people and businesses. One that is agile and flexible, but can provide stability and sustainability in an ever-changing world.

When I retire, I expect HR will still be working on creating equal opportunities for people facing long-standing and as yet unknown challenges of the future. I believe sustainability and the monetary and non-monetary value we place on different types of roles will also be a challenge too.

It is incredibly rewarding working in HR, but due to the nature of what we do, it can be difficult at times. I think we need to continue working on people’s perception and expectations of what HR offers.

We need to be role models for the discipline and showcase the expertise and the value we provide by tapping into contemporary thinking on, for example, society, the economy, human behaviour and artificial intelligence. My plan is to work on the HR experience one step, one conversation and one interaction at a time – and not be afraid to be a bit experimental.


This article was first published in the July/August 2022 issue of HR magazine. Subscribe today to have all our latest articles delivered right to your desk.