HR gurus from across the Yorkshire region put their heads together once again this month, when the Yorkshire HR (YHR) Network met for its second face-to-face knowledge-transfer event.

Directors, managers and executives alike joined forces in Leeds to discuss pertinent developments within the profession. The benefits of effective HR networking and knowledge-sharing when tackling issues such as drugs in the workplace, staff engagement and ever-changing employment legislation, really were evident.
In the current climate, the success and stability of an organisation depends upon the quality of staff we employ, the efficiency with which they work, and their level of workplace engagement. Human Resources therefore has a crucial role to play in helping businesses emerge from the recession stronger than ever.
In turn this means that we, as HR professionals, have a duty to share specialist insight wherever possible, but thankfully the growing prevalence of social media forums, webinars and blogs means that knowledge transfer doesn’t have to be a chore.
Until October 2010, the YHR existed only as a virtual concept. Unimpressed by the lack of knowledge-sharing groups within Yorkshire’s HR industry, YHR founder Abbie Granger from Harrington-Norman created a LinkedIn group through which people could post Human Resource queries, offer ideas and provide relevant updates – legislative or otherwise.
But despite the growing popularity of the social media forum Abbie did not neglect the importance of personal contact, hence YHR members now meet in person once a quarter. This allows attendees to really chew over the opportunities and challenges that exist for Yorkshire’s business community, and it is inspiring to see round table discussions come to life. I think we all tend to take our ‘know how’ for granted, but when you leave an event such as this you realise how much you can offer, and learn in return, in only a couple of hours.
One of the key things debated during the event was whether HR is still needed in the modern business environment. Understandably this created quite a heated discussion amongst those present, but more than anything it showed the passion that exists within the profession! It cannot be ignored that a degree of change is essential, but this doesn’t simply apply to HR – I don’t know of a single business function that can afford to stand still.
Human Resources has a value-adding, strategic contribution to make in business, so of course the function is still needed. However an interesting statistic highlighted during the event suggested that only 15% of HR departments’ time is spent on strategic work. Perhaps this indicates that too much resource is being spent on transactional HR, preventing Human Resources professionals from excelling in their core field. To me, this is the issue to address, not whether or not HR has a future.
I suppose this is where companies like Cascade can come to the fore, because proactive modern technology can quickly become a valued and efficient member of a HR team, thus reducing the administrative workload and allowing HR departments to concentrate on meaningful, supportive relationships with staff.
As a business, we really benefit from an involvement with groups such as the YHR – open, honest and educative debate is very healthy. If you’re not joining in, perhaps you’re missing out?
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