HR leader of the month

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HR magazine speaks to the leaders of the industry about what they think will shape it in years to come

What are your main concerns in HR today?

The main challenge is the pace of change and the disruptive nature of that change. Established HR structures are being eroded: we need innovative and real-time solutions that are better communicated. However, this disruption creates opportunity for those that can adapt. So despite the concerns raised above this is the most exciting time I have experienced in my human resources career.

We should embrace this opportunity head-on and deliver a proactive service to the organisations we represent.

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

In the world of talent acquisition the candidate as a customer moves front and centre. Throughout all of our connections with candidates we touch circa 450,000 people a year. A first-class recruitment experience is essential – not least because many applicants will be in our target demographics to buy our vehicles. The more that HR can align its work and deliverables to the bottom line, the more we will be valued and appreciated by the business and more able to create relationships and connectivity between HR professionals and line management.

What subjects will HR still be tackling when you retire?

Talent will still be the holy grail when I retire. What I mean by talent is the skills and abilities – as well as potential – that you need in your business to meet its rapidly changing requirements. To thrive in an age of future vehicle technologies we need new skills that are globally sourced. These people may not want to join us on a long-term contract. For example, some of the best infotainment engineers are based in California or Seoul. They will be interviewed via Skype, respond to a ‘statement of work’ request, and paid for a defined period of time on delivery of a project. This data will be stored in our CRM system so we remain aware of current and future talent needs. If we can tackle this challenge in a creative and flexible way the talent agenda becomes more manageable.

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

We plan to connect even better with product marketing, and use their experience of how to manage customer relationships. Our data will drive our decisions and we will be acutely aware of the points in the process that require people talking together.

Graham Thompsett is head of global resourcing and talent acquisition at Jaguar Land Rover

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