Boards are supposed to prevent anything that could cause harm to a company, but some still fail. Stephen Jones writing for Management Today paints a dark picture of our current state of British Boards. Leading industry experts (including Helen Pitcher OBE) offer explanations of what is causing Boards to fail and what can be done to rectify the problem.
There is increasing pressure on boards’ to plan their own succession as well as oversee the executive pipeline, with a strong focus on diversity. This stems from the need to create sustainable businesses with a positive, transparent culture that can be ‘passed on’ through generations of CEO and board transitions, and societal pressure for greater diversity in boards and companies to mirror their customer base and the host society. While the notion of having a ‘social licence to operate’ is in its infancy in Europe, there is an increasing need for businesses to show they are good corporate citizens, with lobby groups focused on fair tax payment, customer and employee advocacy, custodianship of the environment, and positive social impact.
Written by Helen Pitcher OBE, for INSEAD Knowledge Career Blog
Changing careers at mid-life is an option for more and more executives. Some choose early retirement, others are nudged towards the door, and others decide that doing something that they love is more meaningful and they can afford to get off the corporate track.
Becoming a NED is often considered the next logical professional step after an executive role. NEDs gain new skills, enlarge their networks and better understand other industries. But the competition is tough and it can be difficult to land that first NED position.
Changing Times. Helen Pitcher OBE writes about the proposed new UK governance code and its impact. The report is under consultation with a target of having the finalised version available in summer 2018, for implementation in January 2019.
In the 25 years since the Cadbury Report on corporate governance, how have boards been doing? Are boards able to understand and analyse what makes them effective and successful? Can they articulate and illuminate the characteristics of an effective board?
By Helen Pitcher for HR magazine
January is as good a time as any to reassess life and career goals. However, as with nearly all New Year ‘resolutions,’ it is important to ensure it is not a seasonal ‘flash in the pan’.
What is more conducive to effective career planning is a six month rolling review of whether you are achieving your stated goals. This however implies that you have taken time, soundings and articulated your stated goals in the first place! And that you do not review your goals achievement in isolation, but use a trusted mentor, coach or experienced friend to walk through progress and obstacles.
By Katie Jacobs for HR Magazine
While the supply of HR directors looking for NED roles still outstrips demand, the tide is slowly turning.
By Jenny Roper for HR Magazine
HR can contribute a lot more than people often realise. Here are the areas no business can afford not to excel in
"There has to be some important problem in the CEO’s bailiwick and the function has to be able to address it. Finance became important because investors became important and the CFOs became important because they had the tools and answers to the questions.” That’s Wharton professor Peter Cappelli’s view on what it takes for a function to rise to prominence.
After all, if a function is not delivering something critical why would it be there in the first place? Which is why the debate around whether the HR function is needed is so mystifying, and so tiring.
So here, once and for all, our experts spell out just some of those many vital value-adds that HR delivers – those areas in today’s operating conditions, that organisations would be lost without.
By Helen Pitcher for HR Magazine
The Harvard Business Review (HBR) articles raise some good analysis of HR – even if collected under an incendiary title
The first article recognises that the Europe/UK context is different to the US and is undergoing a ‘paradigm shift’ at board level, with the board taking greater governance responsibility for key areas of the HR agenda that goes beyond the usual “people are our most important asset” statement.
As the HBR articles suggest, recognising the fundamental business context of companies is important and provides the backdrop for analysing the potential role HR can play in an organisation at any point in time.
By Becky Frith for HR Magazine , 04 Sep 2015
More than three-quarters (76%) of HR professionals believe HR’s strategic input is poorly acknowledged, according to research from software provider Cascade HR.
The Cascade Client Survey 2015 found that 39% of HR professionals do not need to report an overview of their department, 42% are not expected to report on workforce diversity, and 48% are not required to report on salary information.
By Becky Frith for HR Magazine, 5 August 2015
The proportion of female first-time FTSE 350 non-executive directors (NEDs) significantly increased last year, according to a report by Korn Ferry.
The firm’s Class of 2014 report, which analysed all first-time NED appointments to FTSE 350 companies, revealed that 39% of first-time NEDs in 2014 were women, up from 28% in 2013 and 11% in 2007
...and stay there. At the latest HR in the Boardroom event, board expert Helen Pitcher shared her top tips for ensuring HRDs are effective at the very highest levels.
By Jenny Roper for HR Magazine, July 2015
“In an ideal world boards should be looking to people with HR skills who can contribute to really important and key areas. In reality they often don’t”.
By Adam Brown for IR Magazine, 19 June 2015
Upcoming regulations will force higher fees and lower quality of non-executive director candidates, Tyzack Partners says.
Upcoming UK regulations meant to hold non-executive directors responsible for breaches of good governance may have a ‘dramatic and damaging’ effect on board diversity, according to a report by executive search firm Tyzack Partners and board effectiveness consultancy Advanced Boardroom Excellence.
By Jenny Roper for HR Magazine, 18 Jun 2015
Boards are increasingly pushing non-executive directors (NEDs) into an executive level of responsibility, leaving them to exact a careful balance between impartiality and increased closeness to the business, a report from board effectiveness consultancy Advanced Boardroom Excellence has found.
Walking the Tightrope of Board Responsibility found that what is expected of NEDs now far outstrips NED remuneration, and a heightened environment of board governance regulation is exerting more pressure on NEDs to scrutinise, for example, company remuneration policies more closely.
In the final governance article we look at the issues facing HRDs seeking to create NED careers and increase influence with boards. Given that an HRD has key capabilities in the areas of executive career management, talent development, remuneration, culture and behaviour, what is holding HRDs back from NED roles?