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Human Resources

Published on December 16th, 2013 | by Chloe Watts


2013: A Year in Review for HR Interims

In this blog, Chloe Watts takes a look back over 2013 and examines what this year has meant for HR interims. 

So another year flies by – and in my 15 years working in HR recruitment, I continue to read articles and hear conversations bashing the HR function and decrying its existence – see my last blog for evidence of this. But the fact is that, in one form or another, HR has a rightful place at the heart of every organisation and it’s up to the functional experts to shape its impact. But how has the market for HR professionals developed from an interim perspective over the past 12 months?

HR Interims - Organisational Development and Design

First and foremost, there has been a much higher requirement for individuals with a background in organisational development and design (OD). Although, during the recession (yes, I’m using the past tense) talk of such redesign or redevelopment struck fear into employees hearts, now it is a signal of investment in an organisation as they seek to move forward and grow the top line, rather than consolidate or focus purely on managing the cost base. Therefore businesses need the leaders who know how to drive OD forward.

Talent for Transformation

Alongside OD, the demand for HR professionals with an insight into transformation has also noticeably increased as companies seek to effect change. The business environment has shifted immeasurably over the last five years and organisations, especially larger ones, who are moving to different organisational models such as outsourcing and shared services in order to meet corporate targets and objectives. In a nod to the increasing awareness of the commercial impact of effective due diligence on people costs, interim HR professionals have found themselves getting more involved in major bids for service contracts and seeing these through transition into implementation.

Project and Programme Management (PPM)

Aside from the above, the rise in demand for HR professionals with formal project and programme management capability has been most noteworthy. HR interims are now taking formal PPM qualifications such as PRINCE 2 and MSP which increases their marketability particularly with clients who sit outside the function.  I have even spoken to one HR Director recently who is currently enrolled on a course with the Chartered Institute of Purchase & Supply to further increase her business acumen; this will be a truly powerful combination of commercial skills alongside employee relations and engagement capability.

So, going into 2014, do these developments mean we are going to see a more hardnosed HR function come to the fore? Let’s hope so as this drive to prove commercial effectiveness is essential to the function’s very existence going forward – and it’s success will go some way to silencing those who question the reason that HR exists - both for employer and employee.

What are your thoughts on the year 2013 for HR interims? What do you think 2014 has in store? Let us know what you think in the comments. 

photo credit:MacXever cc

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About the Author

As part of her HR Practice responsibilities, Chloe plays a key role in the development of the active HR community at Alium holding a number of events for HR Directors and senior HR Interims. She works with a diverse portfolio of clients placing senior executive roles across a breadth of management disciplines and across commercial sectors.

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