Wednesday 20th November saw Berwick Partners host some of Yorkshire and the North East’s top Human Resources talent in an exclusive dinner discussion focused on the move from HRD to NED. Speaker Lisa Charles-Jones regaled the room with her hints and tips for making the transition and indeed making the best contribution as a Non-Executive Board Member.
As an NED at Countrywide, Tracsis, Bernicia Housing and The Percy Hedley Foundation, Lisa has plentiful experience to draw on and guided attendees through the pleasures and perils of a portfolio career. Of particular note was the extent to which she advocated using skills drawn from her career as a Director of Human Resources and extending them still further into areas in which she hitherto had relatively little involvement. Furthermore, she discussed the contrast in working patterns, reflecting on the difference in collegiate relationships and administrative support.
Perhaps of most interest were her thoughts on the level of involvement that is required from an NED as opposed to an executive. Her mantra “nose-in hands-out” resonated with attendees as thought was given to the level of operational involvement that is required. Equally, the theme of challenge loomed large in terms of whether an adversarial approach is required and, of course, the level of personal growth that is demanded with the transition into a portfolio career.
From Berwick Partners’ perspective, the movement of Human Resources to the Board table has long been an area of interest. The amount of engagement in the room was testament to the profession’s increasing appetite at this level, and indeed the demand from organisations for Human Resource input to the whole life cycle of a company is palpable across sectors.
Basil leRoux (Partner and Head of Berwick Partners’ Human Resources Practice) commented “Lisa’s account of what it means to step up to the Board table as a Director of Human Resources really highlighted the input that HRDs make to businesses at all levels. Her comment that an HRD no longer needs to wait to “talk about people” but instead creates value in all aspects of any given business underlines our feelings about the critical input of Human Resources. We are delighted to support the HRD community in its journey towards plural careers, and the level and diversity of attendance this evening massively underlines the desire to do this.”