HR doesn't rate board leadership skills

2003

The vast majority of HR professionals feel that their board members are in

need of leadership skills training although they are confident in their own ability to be Strategic Business Partners, suggest two polls released today.

In a poll of 319 people on HR Gateway.com, 85 per cent of respondents said that they felt their board members were in need of leadership skills training with only 14 per cent disagreeing.

Gary Ince, head of the Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) labelled the finding a 'statistical gem', and said that it showed that a severe lack of communication could be existing between HR and the top table:

"These are staggering figures," he said. “I would expect this result from a question asking about boardrooms in general but not when it is pointed at people's own board. Too many firms pay lip service to HR and so the department may well be feeling excluded.

"Many firms look at HR in the same way as an insurance policy," says Ince. "It needs to be there but firms don't like paying for it. If board members are failing to communicate with HR and then they really do need leadership training.

"Clearly leaders in the UK need more training and they also need to buy into the concept of lifelong learning," he added.

A separate poll of 273 visitors to HR Gateway.com suggested that as well as not rating the board's leadership skills, HR was confident in its own ability to be a HR Strategic Business Partner.

Nearly two-thirds (65 per cent) said that they were confident in their current skill levels when it came to being a Business Partner, a sign that HR feels itself ready to burst from the department an onto the board, says HR Gateway Consulting's Vanessa Stebbings:

"With the growing trend of shared services and outsourcing, the opportunities are opening up for HR to become more strategic. However, many of the commercial skills needed for such work are not yet part of training for a career in HR," she said.