· 1 min read · Features

HR Directors are always upping their game


Occasionally HR magazine's award-winning probing of the HR profession means the national papers use us as a source for their own comment.

So when The Times' Santhnam Sanghera recently devoted an entire column to last month's cover story, Are They Worth It? - our Top 30 league table of public-sector HR director pay - at first we were quite chuffed. But while our report was a reasoned debate about public-sector HR pay (in fact commentators thought HRDs in this sector should earn more, not less, to attract the best HR talent), Sanghera chose it as yet further evidence to support his vendetta against the "lack of contribution" he feels HR makes.

On BBC reward director Robert Johnston's £183,750 salary, he wrote: "So there you go; licence-payers pay a six-figure salary to a man who works out who else gets a six-figure salary, and is managed by someone (HRD Lucy Adams) on £320,000." He added: "Adams' work has about as much involvement with business reality as my work involves giraffes. HR people think they play a vital role in the business and for that reason regard themselves as underpaid."

Entertaining though Sanghera is, we regard this as harsh, and as this month's letter from executive search CEO Raj Tulsiani reveals (p14), he knows most of the top 30 listed and can vouch for the "exceptional results" they deliver to the business.

So, we hope Sanghera, as an avid follower of HR magazine, reads this month's cover story on the recurring problem of line manager/HR relationships - one of the few areas HR can be criticised for. This month, though, bringing you exclusive data from Roffey Park's just-published Management Agenda 2010, we find that compared with our first report on this 12 months ago, relations have vastly improved.

It has only taken a small shift by both sides in appreciating what the other does to make a big difference. When HR and the line really do engage with each other, the value they bring is self-evident.

We're not saying everything's rosy and, in business partnering particularly, we find there is still room for improvement. But maybe this time Sanghera will see what we see, and recognise HR is upping its game all the time.