People Management has trailed an interview with Allan Leighton, Chairman of the UK's Royal Mail*, prior to his presentation at the CIPD Conference. In it, Leighton calls for HR to "be more strategic and less focused on day-to-day management processes".
What's more interesting is what Leighton sees as this 'strategic' role:
"There’s a lot of mumbo-jumbo out there. HR isn’t responsible for the people in the company. Managers are the ones who are responsible.
I don’t think (modern work practices such as flexible working or diversity are) anything to do with HR. It’s all to do with managing and line managers. In retail, the store managers are responsible for all their people – they’re often a thousand miles away from the HR department.
HR has a clear role – to help create the policies, help to monitor the progress and help to get training for people.”
Blimey. So that's HR's great 'strategic' future then.
* Royal Mail's workers have recently been on strike and the situation remains uncomfortable. Any connection?