HR future leader of the month: Jan Lynegar

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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?

With so many different generations in our workforces, what is valued and by who varies enormously. A ‘one-
size-fits-all’ method won’t provide the personalised approach needed to deliver a quality employee experience.

The key to navigating this challenge is to understand the different profiles of your people
and establish what matters and who it matters to. This allows us as HR professionals to be in a stronger position when supporting and advising the business, because we can help ensure the right balance is found during the design and delivery of key initiatives.

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

We’re going through an unprecedented period of exponential growth and change in the world. This leads to inevitable uncertainty as external factors influence business strategy. As HR professionals we have a responsibility to ensure we are creating workforces and operating models that can adapt and react quickly to support continual change.

For example, as digital’s influence continues to alter customer patterns of behaviour and drives retail into more of an experience setting, the sales skillset will also change and we will need to reflect this in our workforce to ensure we’re delivering the best possible customer experience.

What subjects will HR still be tackling when you retire?

Ensuring change is managed in the right way will be something HR professionals will always have to address.

Finding ways to adapt to change is necessary but also quite reactive. I believe it’s possible and preferable to focus on creating a culture of innovation so that everyone embraces change. This way, rather than having to support and coach your people through it they are the ones driving and delivering change. The only way this can be achieved is to create a safe environment so people aren’t afraid to try new things, learn from failure, and continue to innovate.

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

I’m passionate about changing negative perceptions of HR. We’re no longer an admin support function, we are strategic business leaders involved in designing and implementing key business proposals.

While it’s possible to alter these perceptions within the business where you work, it’s more of a challenge to overcome public opinion. Public views are based on people’s personal experiences of HR, which normally include some type of disciplinary or weak management blaming problems on decisions made by HR.

We can positively affect people’s work lives, we just need to ensure we promote ourselves in the right way to demonstrate the value we add and shake that ‘hire and fire’ stigma.

Jan Lynegar is head of HR business partnering at Lookers

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