Speaking at the annual HR Most Influential networking event at Claridge's, London, Pickering, who topped the list of HR Most Influential Practitioners, pointed out that "you never hear a sales director asking whether they should be around the board table".
"In order to be really influential you absolutely need to understand your business; that means you need to have a good commercial brain," she said. "It's no good having CIPD qualifications if you don't understand what it is that makes your business successful."
Watch the full video interview here:
Speaking at the same event, David Bird, director of Willis Towers Watson's LifeSight, said HR faces a "difficult question" when it comes to the future world of work.
"It needs to think about how the relationship will be different for different types of employees at different times in their lives. And it needs to think about opportunities it can have for people to retrain and reskill," Bird said.
Watch the full video interview below:
Find the full HR Most Influential Thinker and Practitioner lists, as well as sector lists and profiles, on our HRMI microsite.