The HR director as NED

By Advanced Boardroom Excellence for HR Magazine

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?

The first arena is that of strategy. NEDs need to be able to assimilate, challenge and support the strategic deliberations of the CEO and the executives. Generally, the HR function and HRDs are not acknowledged in the wider business community for their strategic thinking. Consequently it is often relegated to an operational ‘strategic implementation’. 

HRDs who want to be seen as strategic are required to do something different related to their education, experience, skills and perception of their skills. While this can at times be only a perception issue, it is nonetheless real. A former CEO and experienced NED recently said that he failed to see the relevance of a HR background to a NED as such people were purely ‘operational’.