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HR magazine launches scheme to give HRDs a voice in the boardroom

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Steve Tappin, personal confidant to FTSE 100 and Fortune 500 CEOs, and Wayne Clarke, one of the founders of Best Companies, which produces the Sunday Times Best Companies to Work for ranking, have teamed up with HR magazine to launch a pioneering development programme for HR directors.

HR in the Boardroom, which will run for one year, is designed to help HR directors have more impact at the board. It combines one-to-one coaching with practical sessions, peer learning and networking.

The launch follows research from the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) that finds chief executives and chief financial officers want HR to be involved at the highest level of planning yet do not consider it to be key.

HR magazine publisher Siân Harrington said: "Employers spend billions of pounds a year on training yet little of this is invested in the development of HR directors. We want to bridge the gap between what HR directors and CEOs want. We believe we need the best CEO and engagement experts to help us with this, so have gone outside our industry to secure global mentors to CEOs and boards."

Tappin, CEO of Xinfu, is the author of the best seller The New Secrets of CEOs - 200 global CEOs on business, life and leadership and writes for the magazines Fortune China and Harvard Business Review. He presented the BBC World Service documentary series CEO Guru.

Clarke, founding partner of The Global Growth Institute, is an engagement expert, having advised 300 CEOs, HRDs and boards around the world. He is also a United Nations JCI ambassador and chair of the UK Government's taskforce on international engagement.

HR in the Boardroom will cover topics including connecting with the CEO, becoming a confidant to the board, and becoming an influential HR leader. The inaugural programme will feature no more than 30 HR leaders. Among the first to sign up are: Tanith Dodge, HR director of Marks and Spencer; Vanessa Evans, group HR director of RSA Insurance; Jabbar Sardar, director of HR and OD at Cafcass; and Darren Hockaday, HR director of LOROL.

Evans said: "As we continue to operate in an ever more complex and changing economic and regulatory environment, this programme is vital to ensure the HR function is fully conversant and aligned to the needs of the CEO and organisation as a whole. This type of programme, aimed at commercial senior HR leaders, is well overdue."

"This programme is unique and highly relevant in today's environment," added Sardar. "Organisations are seeking greater engagement, involvement and outstanding performance from the most expensive resource any of us have - our staff.

"In this context, the role HR plays is crucial and the programme brings together the best HR directors, as well mentoring and support from world-class coaches. This has the benefit of supporting wider HR professional transformation. HR directors are keen to ensure everyone else receives development and support - now it's an opportunity for us to practise what we preach."

For more information email HR publisher Siân Harrington at sian.harrington@markallen group.com or call her on 020 7501 6710.