Responsibility for human capital falls much wider than just the HR function according to an in-depth survey by the FT Research Centre commissioned by Ceridian, one of the largest providers of human resource services in the world. However, the majority of financial directors spend less than five hours a week on human capital issues. The interviews were conducted with 50 financial and human resource directors of medium and large UK companies.
When asked who had responsibility within their organisations for developing human capital as an asset, respondents came up with different positions. While the position of HR director came top, the board of directors and the CEO followed closely. HR directors and financial directors had different views on the subject. While more HR directors thought it was their responsibility, financial directors seemed to view it as the responsibility of a wider range of senior positions.
Looking at how much time a financial director spent on human capital issues per week, the majority of respondents (58 per cent) felt they or their financial director spent less than five hours. Interestingly, around half of the financial directors felt they invested more time with five spending six to ten hours and five spending 11 to 15 hours.
Penny de Valk, strategy director at Ceridian in the UK, commented: “Human capital is not the sole province of HR. It influences the whole organisation, as the wide spread of multiple answers from our respondents demonstrates. The higher up the corporate agenda the issue is placed the more time is spent on it, especially by those outside HR. However, good HR can add significant value and make a real contribution to an organisation’s performance. It needs to clearly link its best practices with business value.”
Most respondents felt that the financial director and HR director regularly worked together on initiatives and kept each other informed with 12 financial directors stating only occasionally. Crucially, only a third of the respondent companies had an HR director as a member of the board.
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