I attempted to join Tata as a finance/accounting apprentice but the HR manager at the company assessed my application and thought I’d be a good fit as an HR apprentice. Turns out he was right, and 17 years later that leap of faith paid off.
We have our bread and butter tasks in HR that have been and always will be part of our agenda, but we need to focus our attention towards playing the role that we should play in making work better and fairer for a modern society.
We need to thoroughly understand and get to grips with inequality, privilege, prejudice – serious matters that require serious attention.
This is hard stuff that we can work on to improve UK businesses that will make work a better place, even against the current political and economic environment.
And it’s not just because focusing on these areas adds value to organisations but because, above all else, looking to fix these concerns is undoubtedly just the right thing to do.
Mindset is going to be really important for HR over the next five years. For at least the past 20 years ‘strategy’ has been king, with a push from within for the profession to think long term and far reaching. Short term and immediacy have become almost dirty terms.
The unpredictable political and economic environments that the UK is now working within, as well as the global challenges that also affect some businesses, means organisations are working on much shorter timeframes than they have been previously.
Survival is a very real aim for lots of businesses and adaptability is a core skill that HR needs to have to support our businesses against these pressures.
I’m a keen advocate of evidence-based HR and I intend on continuing to bang the drum. I believe that the evidence-based methodology of making business decisions through the use of good sources and data will continue to evolve HR as a function and the profession as a whole. I plan on continuing to play my part in revolutionising how we work, and I believe evidence-based HR is the way forward.
When I retire HR will still be tackling employee experience, workplace discrimination and equality, and our ‘place’ in the boardroom.
All of these things are unlikely to go anywhere, and in the area of workplace inequality some of this is due to systematic entrenched processes that will take time to unpick and rectify.
However, at the ripe old age of 34 and with a likely 35-plus years left in work, I sincerely hope the place in the boardroom discussion dies a strong death long before I retire.
Mark Hendy is HR manager at Forged Solutions Group
This piece appears in the February 2020 print issue. Subscribe today to have all our latest articles delivered right to your desk
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