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CIPD Conference: British Gas' HR director calls for a 'ninja' approach to people management

A 'ninja' approach to HR was advocated at an industry gathering in Manchester on Thursday.

Speaking at the Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development Conference, HR Director at British Gas Business, Angela Williams, called for greater agility, professionalism and the use of more rigorous criteria in order to improve HR’s standing within the wider business community.

"A lot of criticisms I’ve heard around HR functions is that we don’t set the bar high enough, Williams said. "If we can define very high performance, we can give absolute clarity about what is expected and what is not tolerated we can actually drive performance very significantly.

Williams was addressing a seminar entitled ‘The perfect HR function: can it be built?’ which was chaired by Barry Hoffman, HR Director at IT infrastructure provider, Computacenter.

Speaking to HR Magazine after the session, Williams said: "Effective ninjas will say ‘Can I see what the issue is and can I deal with it in an absolutely focused way to resolve it?’

"Let’s focus; let’s make sure we are delivering properly. It’s about getting the balance of troubleshooting versus looking strategically.

Hoffman added: "I love the concept of ninja HR.

"It’s about people who really have experience at the front line. They know what it’s like to be a manager, deliver to end customers and be really agile; really capable of dealing with anything that’s thrown at them.

"Those HR people: they’re the ones I want in my team."