The Naked Headhunter – NOV. 2019, ISSUE 3
Beyond Doncaster thoughts from their Chief Human Resources Officer
In this third series of interviews Mark catches up with Lorraine Parker-Clegg, Chief Human Resources Officer, Doncaster Group. Lorraine talks about; how she sees global HR evolving, where SME’s can impact HR with little resource. The war for talent driving increased emphasis for business to ‘grow your own.’ The personal flexibility she had to show when joining Doncaster and lastly shares her passions and inspirations.
TELL US A BIT ABOUT THE WAY YOU SEE GLOBAL HR EVOLVING?
By way of preface, I will begin by saying that I believe there will continue to be huge changes in the evolution of Global HR. There have been many shifts over the years in the way organizations choose to deploy their HR resources, I have been privileged to lead several change initiatives looking to optimize the use of those resources. During those moments of evolution, the key has been recognizing where the organization is starting from and headed to. I have found, that one size does not fit all. The “lifecycle” phase of an organization is very much the start point. The common themes I see for the future include words like, fluidity and agility. As the generational “cross over” gains momentum it will be paramount that HR teams have the ability to understand their customers and employees, applying good “customer insight” as would any product marketer. HR practitioners need to be able to be the keepers of the Organizational Brand and the developers of purpose and culture. Adeptness in having a data driven approach, a marketing mindset and technological capability will be at the forefront. This will ensure that the right solution is offered apace. Equally, as the world of work changes, automating those tasks that can be done through technological means will free more time for the qualitative aspects of human capital planning and talent management. In some cases I think it is fair to say that best practice may not always be the way forward. I prefer the term right practice, it is important to apply solutions in the right context and in a way that the organization can digest. This itself will require incredible agility from HR practitioners. I therefore think the HR professional of tomorrow will need to broaden their business skill base to accommodate the changing landscape and when necessary use “gig style specialists” to enhance the internal skillset.
WHERE DO YOU SEE AREAS SME’S CAN IMPACT HR WITHOUT NECESSARILY HAVING THE RESOURCES?
I think a practical example here might be the best way to answer the question and I will draw it from a prior assignment in Asia. We were undergoing significant organization re-design and development initiatives and there was a scarcity of internal resources to assist the HR business partners in driving forward this activity. I needed to drive two outcomes: firstly work with the business to support the highest value projects; and secondly equip the existing business partners with stronger OD skills. The solution was to secure the services of an extraordinary OD partner, who for their own professional and lifestyle needs wanted to retain an independent consulting status and work a reduced week pattern. Using a peripheral style worker allowed me to move the business forward on their priorities and generate fantastic development opportunities for both the team and myself. We were able to tap into a resource whose depth of experience was invaluable and whose experience really transcended many industries and sectors. The key is having clarity of desired outcomes, a timeline to achieve them in and a clear budget allocation! Having openness to “how” works gets done is going to contribute to success in the future of work and HR.
WAR FOR TALENT
HOW DO YOU SEE THE WAR FOR TALENT EVOLVING OVER THE NEXT 5-10 YEARS WHEN IT COMES TO WORKFORCE PLANNING??
The continued pace of change, globalization and world of information, will require employees to be agile in their thinking, data and tech savvy. Speedy reinvention of the workforce will be required, which is where HR and leadership need to play a part. Current research suggests that many managers feel ill-equipped to coach their teams to success and that their employees feel skill-challenged in doing their job. All of these elements will contribute to the continuing theme of talent shortages and capability gaps. Increased emphasis will have to be placed on internal development and “growing your own”. This likely requires a mindset shift.
Adaptation will be necessary for people that manage individuals of a different generation. For this talent population, frequent role changes to provide experiences, with carefully crafted moments for “supported exposure” alongside investment in training and education will be necessary in time frames that many senior leaders are not use to accommodating. The shortage of talent will remain a challenge, given the shifts in population composition (boomer, X,Y, Z) and the available workers in those groups. In short, it will mean that organizations must be able to utilize the talent they have by developing them quickly and broadly, taking earlier risks on advancing that talent through roles and experiences. Retention will be key, which will require the leaders that manage them to have a flexible mindset in how an organization shares its talent to drive success.
TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT THE FLEXIBILITY YOU HAD TO SHOW WHEN JOINING DONCASTERS?
Upon joining Doncasters, the team was recovering from a lengthy and challenging process with a potential international acquirer of the business, culminating in the deal not being realized. This required an adjustment of strategy, laser focus on the retention of individuals and inevitably a change in the use of resources for activities that had been anticipated. When faced with such situations, the flexibility required is that of being able to provide economically viable, alternative solutions, that still address needed outcomes and support the continued journey of the organization. With the support of my team we pivoted our approach to the planned HRIS introduction; reengineered the programs supporting culture and values; and redeveloped the organization’s branding to aid our attraction efforts. From a personal standpoint joining a highly dispersed leadership team (which is not atypical in our global world), the flexibility for travel and working and managing remotely across multiple time zones was key.
WHAT AREAS ARE YOU PASSIONATE ABOUT AND WHAT TYPES OF CONNECTIONS ARE INTERESTING FOR YOU AS YOU LOOK AHEAD?
Let me begin outside of work with the things that I am passionate about – family and friends. Throughout my life and career I have had incredible support from husband, family and friends, so inevitably they are top of the list. Life is no fun without them! I have several furry family members, 2 dogs and a cat all of which are rescues; I also dedicate some of my spare time volunteering for a rescue society. I grew up as a team sport player and my earlier field hockey days have now been replaced with America’s fastest growing sport – Pickleball – I still thoroughly enjoy the competitiveness and camaraderie of playing a team game. Social and cross-cultural connections are highly important to me.
At work I am energized by the full spectrum of strategy development, human capital implications and the ensuing organization development and talent management activities. I love spending time with my HR team and enabling their growth and success with their objectives, both professionally and personally. I continue to invest a great amount of energy in remaining highly connected on a global basis with former colleagues, suppliers and associates. This supports my general passion for high social connection and ability to both help others and learn from them.
Mark Hamill, aka The Naked Headhunter is a Non Executive Director with Ackermann International. Mark has been active in executive search for 20 years and is passionate about the power of search. Mark specialises in global succession search particularly in scaling organisations.
“I am happy to connect you with Lorraine, so please just reach out to me if you wanted to chat with her about career opportunities, industry insight, market knowledge or share any of your business needs with her.”
Phone: +44 7725 828717