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CIPD conference slams growing FD influence

HR academic tells delegates not to get "sucked into the finance director's agenda"

The growing influence of the finance director across businesses is hurting the ability of human resources professionals to measure the strategic impact of the workforce.

That is the message Portsmouth Business School HR management academic Valerie Anderson gave to HR professionals at the CIPD conference in Manchester this week, according to HR Magazine.

Anderson pointed to the idea that FDs may impinge the measurement of longer-term value of employees.

“In some organisations, ‘return on investment’ is a barrier to entry. HR is a long-term game; you can’t show achievement quarter by quarter,” HR Magazine quotes her saying. “This is no straightforward recipe for measuring strategic impact. We shouldn’t be having to prove a return on investment, but a return on expectations.”

Anderson was speaking at a session about measuring strategic impact in which she examined the importance of building an assessment evaluation framework, and “understanding how HR departments can measure strategy to identify how effective initiatives have been”.

Despite that, Anderson told delegates that the HR profession needs to audit what it does and identify actionable measures to look at the impact of HR – echoing the FD’s approach of setting KPIs that disseminate financial and non-financial data analysis throughout their business.

“We spend too long looking internally in HR. We need to look elsewhere in the organisation and outside it as well,” Anderson told delegates.

And her comments on data suggested that, far from having to break with the FD agenda, HR professionals could benefit from working with finance – which has been through a similar set of lessons about working outside its own discipline.

“We need to start thinking about out skillset and work with other sources of information within the organisation,” Anderson said.

“The chances are this data is not with HR. Other sectors have their own jargon. What we need is a language that works for the organisation. We in HR have a subculture of modesty. We could do much more self promotion.”

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