Why boards should open the door to HR leads
December 16, 2019
After two decades in consulting at Accenture, Sarah has moved to the other side of the fence as Human Resources Direrctor – a position she believes will be increasingly pivotal to organisational success. In fact, she predicts we’ll soon see CHROs joining CFOs and CEOs as prime candidates for board positions.
Without P&L or strategic responsibilities, HR was previously considered a ‘soft’ role, with HR leaders rarely being given a true seat at the top table. When I decided that, after decades in consulting, it was time to move into a hands on role – HR is where I chose to make my mark.
For someone with a background in accounting, who joined Accenture to work in client finance, it’s not an obvious move. Surely, I’d want a CFO role? The fact is, I quickly left that job in client finance and transferred into change management in the consulting part of the business. For the last 20 years, I’ve moved between different industry groups, always focusing on supporting client transformation.
So, when I started thinking I needed something else in my ‘kit bag’, I looked for an area where I could gain new skills that will make a difference. With my background in change management and HR transformations, I sought out the next function where both Accenture and our clients have to transform to drive competitive advantage: people.
Breakfast with my colleagues
In our current environment of EPIC disruption, organisational agility is arguably the most important lever we have to drive sustainable growth. And improving agility requires both digital and workforce transformation. It’s not enough to digitalise your back end. You also need a more fluid workforce. People who can change and roll with the punches. People with high levels of learnability – who are going to be resilient and adaptable.
That means big changes for HR, including:
Speaking at a conference
I believe this area is so important that the HR leads who develop agility for their organisations will soon be sought out as board candidates. Because it’s this expertise that many boards are currently lacking. If your organisation is looking to disrupt, workforce agility is a strategic imperative.
That’s why I’ve chosen to get into a hands-on role in game-changing field of HR.
Christmas Eve with my family