Simon Hayward from Cirrus comments in Human Resources.
The public’s trust in banks has plummeted from 41% in 2008 to 21% in 2012. And according to commentators HR magazine has spoken to, bankers – in particular traders – have virtually no trust in the HR function, seeing it as a “problem” that’s only about “sacking with a smile” and stopping banks from being sued.
The irony is, had HR had more influence, it could have played an essential role in preventing some of the behaviours that have caused the erosion of trust in the City.
Here’s why: HR is the custodian of the organisation. As Hugh Mitchell, chief HR and corporate officer at Royal Dutch Shell, puts it, HR is increasingly the part of the organisation that asks the question: is the business in tune with society? For today’s business can no longer exist in isolation.
Its employees, potential recruits and customers all reflect society. Not only that, but, as the nature of business changes, collaboration is playing a stronger role – and that means collaboration with all manner of stakeholders, from local communities to crowd-sourced partners.
It is clear that in banking HR has not been playing this role. But the public may be fixating on the wrong issue: the excessive reward structure.
Instead, the only way to eliminate what Simon Hayward of Cirrus calls the “amoral environment” is to change the belief system. While this has to come from the top, HR is vital in acting as catalyst for such cultural change.
Where this all comes together is in leadership. It is here that HR must take control. It must ensure leaders are being constantly developed in tune with the drivers of the business, with what will make it successful in the future and with the external environment. So my call to HR directors is to ensure you control the leadership space. Only then will you have true influence.
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