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Integrating HR: Leading from within

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Professionalising the HR function is about the long-term sustainability of the organisation – and that cannot be achieved in a vacuum. To lead, one must first learn and adapt.

HR is at a pivotal point in history. At the intersection of businesses, people, technology and public policy, today’s HR department has a crucial and unique role to play in the development of their organisation.

It is not possible for leaders and organisations to evolve from the comfortable ‘ways we’ve always done things’ – often established during the Industrial Age – and adapt new ways to organise, manage, develop and align their people at work, without confident leadership from their HR team.

To be able to respond confidently, when HR professionals themselves are being buffeted by the same competing demands and challenges, requires something to ‘give’. Some even consider stress and burnout among HR professionals to be at “epidemic proportions” . In this context, personal resilience, ambiguity tolerance, perspective taking and other ‘mindset dimensions’ are essential in order to thrive personally and professionally.

Tackling dominant forces

As HR leaders have become important strategic partners shaping their organisation’s trajectory, the value of self-development for these professionals cannot be understated. Time away from the day-to-day can provide the focus and immersion required to truly prioritise, focus on key challenges and develop the cognitive, emotional and behavioural resources demanded of HR executives in their pivotal role today.

The Explorer Mindset is an annual executive development programme for the 21st Century, created and delivered by Møller Institute at Churchill College in the University of Cambridge.
The Explorer Mindset is a full-board residential programme, it is delivered over two intensive, multi-dimensional modules with pre-programme, inter-modular and post-programme coaching support and project work; a structure specifically designed to provide just such a balance between immersion, perspective and existing work commitments.

The Explorer Mindset programme content is framed around these seven ‘mindset dimensions’, formed of core psychological characteristics and leadership approaches.

They are:

  • Personal Resilience
  • Approach Orientation
  • Avoidance Orientation
  • Ambiguity Tolerance
  • Leading Innovation
  • Preparedness
  • Perspective Taking

Limited to 25 international participants, with a stringent admissions process to ensure high-calibre and complimentary candidates, The Explorer Mindset typically attracts senior leaders across the sector spectrum (for-profit and non-profit), providing a close-knit cohort of likeminded professionals with whom to share perspectives, critique and learn alongside.

New Demands, New Responses

The C-suite demands more strategic organisational-input from their HR departments, but only 34% feel their HR team was well-prepared to capitalise on transformational trends, according to PWC’s global CEO survey.

80% of executives report employee experience as being important or very important to their organisation, almost 60% admitted not being ready or prepared to address the employee experience challenge in the fast-evolving marketplace .

Organisations demand agility; adaptability plus speed plus execution. Organisations face a radically shifting context for the workforce, the workplace and the world of work. As a result, leaders are now “actively building organisational ecosystems and networks,” according to Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends , with such changes key to building an ‘organisation of the future’; the top priority for the 10,000 global HR and business leaders surveyed for this trend report.

Employees demand more from their work life, in how they work, where they work, when they work, with whom they work, and why they work. The workforce itself is changing; more remote and flexible work, less employment security, technological ‘tool’ changes, demands for root-and-branch diversity and transparent remuneration, and greater emphasis on organisational culture and purpose.

Two-thirds of employees think ‘few people will have stable, long-term employment in the future’, according to a PwC survey of over 10,000 people in the UK, Germany, China, India and US , presenting challenges to recruitment, reward and retention.

One bold step…

As a result, human resources teams are being challenged to completely rethink the way they approach people management, increasingly focussing on organisational need more than alleged HR ‘best practice’.

This is not about the future of work; it’s about survival and longevity. Uncharted business territory requires new navigation skills.

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