HR: Driving the people agenda

HR: Driving the people agenda

In order for businesses to make the most of market opportunities, a number of vital elements need to be in place such as the need for the right people, skills and culture in the workforce. HR has a huge part to play in guiding the executive board on how to effectively use their people agenda to drive the business strategy and control and minimise risk.

Melanie Richards

Vice Chair KPMG UK and Partner Corporate Finance, Debt Advisory

KPMG in the UK


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Bite-sized ideas for your boardroom agenda

  • Be open to change and help the board create the organisational outlook that is accepting and embraces change 
  • Embrace new opportunities – the world is transforming and moving fast – speed and agility is key
  • Keep it simple and always have a plan B 
  • Be honest – have a shared purpose and shared vision  
  • Embrace technology

Melanie Richards recently hosted a panel discussion at the Changeboard's Future Talent Conference for business leaders. The main themes out of the discussion are summarised below, we also invite you to watch the video.

The focus of the discussion was 'How can HR partner more effectively with the c-suite?'  The people agenda is at the centre of all businesses. Businesses are needing to transform to stay ahead in the fast changing market.  The digital world and digitisation is really driving this transformation with technology being the foundation for this. Digital is changing the business model across all companies.  With this in mind, businesses are required to reinvent themselves and change their talent agenda to survive this.

Future Talent 2016: How can HR partner more effectively with the c-suite?


Why are businesses having to change so fast and what is the dynamic behind it?

The panel discussion also featured: Ross Fraser, vice president and managing director of UK & Ireland at EMC; Michael Keegan, chairman UK & Ireland at Fujitsu; Amy Sawbridge, head of people strategy at Virgin Group and Helmut Schuster, executive vice president and group HR director at BP.  Together, panellists debated the future of work, what capabilities this requires from the HR function and what human resources leaders can do to partner more effectively with those on the C-suite. It is really important for HR to understand the whole business agenda and work with the rest of the executive board to answer key questions – why are businesses having to change so fast and what is the dynamic behind it? 

Some of the key factors on the HR business agenda include:  

  • Attracting and retaining the right talent – the war for talent is tough out there!
  • Leveraging ideas and knowledge from other business functions – finance, technology, brand, sales and marketing – this really helps with having the entire picture of the company and assisting with that transformation 
  • You need a respectful culture in the workplace to succeed. 

The more diverse you are as a business, from the boardroom downwards, the more connected you will be to your customers, the more successful you will be with your partners, better decisions will be made and ultimately more money will be made. HR has a huge role to play to make this change.

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