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Commercial and people focus 'one and the same'

HR professionals should not see commercial and people focuses as mutually exclusive, according to former Virgin Media chief people & services officer Elisa Nardi.

Speaking at the HR Moves: HR in the Boardroom event in London, Nardi added that HR is in a "better position than ever before" to have effective conversations with company boards.

"There are more topics of conversation that HR can make contributions to now," she said. "Reward, CSR and succession planning are just some of the ways HR can get involved with boardroom discussions."

Nardi went on to say that HR professionals must be prepared to have conversations with board members about commercial matters, but not at the expense of "people focus".

"It shouldn't be seen as a 'versus' issue," she said. "They are one and the same. Most companies have a balanced scorecard approach to their business and that includes people."

At the same event Nardi told HR magazine HR as a function has "woken up" recently to the need to demonstrate its commercial impact – partly through the use of analytics.

"A lot has changed in the past few years," she said. "Everyone is now aware that they need to make a bottom-line contribution. HR sits on more data and analytics than any other function and it is about using them in a commercially powerful way."