HR future leader of the month: Sally Jones

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HR magazine speaks to the future leaders of the function about what they think will shape it

What are your main concerns in HR today?

The world is changing rapidly, and Brexit, for example, is a concern for HR and the wider business at the moment. We have started to consider what it might mean in terms of our people and will plan specific approaches as soon as we have more information on what it will mean for our workforce. There is certainly unease among some of our employees so a more immediate challenge is how we can best support our people.

What will become more important for HR over the next five years?

It’s anticipated millennials will make up 75% of the workforce by 2030. They have greater expectations around ways of working, flexibility and reward, and HR needs to adapt its approach to how we recruit, train and retain these individuals.

In the not-for-profit sector our reward strategy has to take into account affordability, and as such approaches like flexitime, TOIL and being able to work from home are all valuable options for our employees in addition to their base salary. We will need to continue to adapt these approaches to the ever-changing environment we are recruiting in.

What subjects will HR still be tackling when you retire?

Building the capability of line managers to lead their teams really well, particularly during periods of change, is key for any organisation. A strong approach to talent management and learning and development can support this and drive a culture of great leadership. Linked to that, being a great people manager also means sometimes needing to have difficult, more challenging conversations, and supporting managers to not shy away from dealing with issues, and to have confidence in their abilities, is probably something HR will always be tackling.

What do you plan to do to change HR for the better?

To show HR as a positive force for change, not just who you call when things go wrong! The RSPB is the UK’s largest nature conservation charity, and its workforce is incredibly committed. I am part of a fairly recently implemented HRBP team that demonstrates a new way of working for us. While the organisation is seeing the benefits a strong partnership between HR and various business units can bring, there is loads more we can do to build on this. It’s a priority of mine and the HRBP team to demonstrate the power of taking our business knowledge out of the HR office, and showing how we can work together to deliver strategic priorities.

Sally Jones is a HR business partner at the RSPB

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