· Features

HR future leader of the month: Maria Franklin

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?

Ensuring that HR is truly connected to the business strategy and is focused on the biggest commercial challenges the business has. The closer you are to the business the more credibility you have.

There are always so many new initiatives we want to create when working in HR, the question is do they have a positive impact on business performance or are they more of a ‘nice to have’? It is easy to become distracted when you work in HR and part of our role is influencing our leaders to ensure we are all heading in the same direction with the same plan.

We are here as the conscience of the business and to be part of the delivery for employees, leaders, shareholders, customers and consumers. Our profession cannot be seen as a nice to have but critical to business performance.

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

HR metrics – we don’t lead the way with tech as a profession and as we become more critical to a business’ growth and success we must ensure that we have the insight, knowledge and capability. We can continue to measure time to hire, turnover, and so on, but I think we need more than that. And we must ensure our business uses our metrics to measure its own performance, productivity, efficiency and effectiveness just as a consumer insights team would, ultimately influencing decision-making.

What subjects will HR still be tackling when you retire?

I imagine HR will be tackling all the same subjects, they might just look different. For example, performance will always be at the top of the agenda as we want to ensure we are getting the best out of the people that work in our company as well as ensuring we provide the right environment for them to succeed.

The world will be very different in 30 years. Thirty years ago the internet didn’t exist and look how that has changed the way we work. Millennials and generations that are coming into the world of work have different expectations. Their performance is still as crucial, but the way in which it is measured has evolved.

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

I will continue to work with leaders and encourage and drive accountability for their culture, development of their people, attracting the right talent, and performance. We know how important leadership is – people join and leave a company because of their leader – therefore I am passionate about continuing to observe and challenge them, which will ultimately provide positive output for the business.

Maria Franklin is a senior HR business partner at Marston's

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?