HR doesn't rate board leadership skills

Jul 03 2003 by Brian Amble Print This Article

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


In a poll of 319 people on HR, 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


"These are staggering figures," he said. ďI 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


"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 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.