Hr Manager

Four ways to boost your board-level influence
influence within the executive team is more valuable than a seat on the board as board members simply rubber stamp executive decisions anyway, believes Linda Kennedy, group HR director at Yell.
During a presentation at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development’s annual conference in Manchester this week, she advised HR professionals to put anxiety about lack of board representation to one side and focus instead on how they could add value and have the right conversations.
Because having technical HR skills and functional expertise was a given in this scenario, the key skill to develop, therefore, was one of “business impact”. Here are four recommendations for how to do this:
1. Be commercial and measure results
Build a proper business case - work out the costs, evaluate the risks involved in doing or not doing something and demonstrate a return on investment. It’s about hard finance, but also about demonstrating that you can build a platform for sustainable company growth.
As a result, although not an area of traditional strength for HR, always use data where you can and back things up with objective facts and figures. Also learn how to read a profit and loss account and understand concepts such as margins, cash flow, debt and the like - and, if you can’t, find someone who can help you do so.
2. Know the business and the broader environment
Be aware of the operational context - in a social, economic and even military sense - in which the business works, and who the other key market players are.
Reading publications such as the Harvard Business Review or Economist can make a “huge difference to your perspective” here by offering views that are broader than the traditional HR one. “It’s about understanding where the business is positioned and if you can’t express that, it’s hard to become credible,” Kennedy explained.
By way of explanation, she added that one former boss had told...