Boards can no longer afford to ignore culture meaning HR's knowledge is sorely needed, according to chair of Advanced Boardroom Excellence Helen Pitcher OBE.
Speaking at a London HR Connection event, Pitcher said that boards' agendas have shifted to become more closely aligned with HR's skillset. “The board’s agenda is changing. Society has got pretty hacked off with corporations and how they behave. They are therefore looking very closely at what they do and how they do it. If we don’t we will fail,” she said.
Pitcher reported that her own research found that 39% of academics, chief executives and NEDs felt that HR has a good skillset but still had doubts about their ability to achieve a position on the board. Additionally 37% felt they should not be on the board and 24% abstained.
But as the issue of corporate governance rises up the agenda, HR’s skills are aligned with some boards’ top priorities, Pitcher said: “We’ve moved away from the situation where boards used to be custodians for shareholders. The whole agenda is now much wider; particularly under the new combined [corporate governance] code, and not all CEOs feel comfortable in talking about it,” she said.