HR Advisors Conference Blog

Further thoughts from the conference or about the challenges of being in an HR Advisory role.

How to blow your managers minds

In HR how often do we excite and amaze the managers we advise, with information about business trends? About products, services or people innovations? Or case studies of companies doing new things?

How often do we show them what’s exciting about working in HR? And get them excited too?

I know when I first moved into HR, this never even occurred to me. At management team meetings, my contribution was often an update of what was happening in our company around HR initiatives and projects, and asking strategic questions about whether the people factor had been considered in the areas the management team were working in. But here’s the stupid thing – I never ran a session for managers telling them the exciting business trends, the innovations I’d read about or discussed, the case studies of companies who were transforming their work places and people practices. The stuff that might challenge their thinking. The stuff that might create a mind shift in terms of what HR does.

I didn’t do this and then somehow, magically I expected them to have a deep understanding of the importance of HR and take me credibly as a business person.


I was busy. I had no time. I didn’t feel like the exec team even wanted to hear from HR, let alone have me present to them. I wanted to be serious and credible about HR.

In the last few years I’ve changed my approach completely. Now the companies that we work with through Elephant, we do discuss what’s going on in business trends. While HR isn’t something managers are necessarily interested in having responsibility for (which is a problem in itself) they are interested in wider business innovations. And you know what? You’re far more credible when you know about global trends and case studies, than when you just focus solely on discussing ‘HR’ stuff.

So what can you do?

I think we need to stop being so serious when we’re at the top table, and actually create some excitement about HR. If you attend our HR conferences, we always provide you with a slide deck so that you can run a session with your managers to share the learnings with them. Its gives you a way to provide professional development for your managers, show them what HR transformation is about and perhaps get them to see you in a new light.

If you’re not attending the conference, you could put aside time to research these yourself. Find the things that are relevant stories that might relate to your business and present them.

Because if we get our managers to be excited about HR – if we blow their minds – perhaps they’ll actually become our biggest advocates! Wouldn’t that be a game changer?


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This entry was posted on August 24, 2014 by in HR leadership and tagged , , , , .

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