Why HR needs a seat at the board

Why HR needs a seat at the board
13 Jul 2022

Written by Claire Sofield, Co-Owner & Managing Director

Culture, wellbeing, engagement, purpose.

These are just some of the HR key words that have shot up the priority list for boards and business owners in the last five years. Partly influenced by Covid and the impact it’s had on our working patterns but also the acknowledgment from companies that these areas are key to business success and retaining a happy workforce.

HR Directors are responsible for the overall wellbeing of the entire workforce, they’re the flag flyers of company culture and generally have the best understanding of the mood across a business. Yet, despite all this it was found that only three FTSE 100 companies in the UK have a HR professional on their board (HR Magazine).

HR departments have historically been absent from the boardroom, typically overlooked in exchange for their operational and financial counterparts. But in a world where talent and culture are becoming more and more important there are many reasons why HR leaders should be integral on every board.

The power of people

One of the biggest challenges right now for any business is finding talent. But whilst everyone is struggling to recruit, it’s essential that you focus on retention.

Microsoft found that 41% of people are considering leaving their role due to a lack of belonging, which suggests that the key to retaining a happy workforce is understanding your people and finding their purpose and connection to your business. Providing a truly personalised employee experience is essential to cater to an individual's motivations and improve engagement. And who better to champion and prioritise topics like reward, engagement and values, other than a HR leader.

As the market continues to drive salaries up and attrition rates are at an all-time high, it’s essential to shift focus to maintain a happy and content workforce. HR leaders are best-placed to prioritise your workforce and drive transformational change across these key areas.

Diversity & inclusion

Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) has been moving up the agenda for execs over the last five years but with an increasing number of headlines covering racial injustice and the safety of women in our everyday lives it is more significant than ever.

HR leaders can guide discussions around D&I and understand the policies around discrimination and equal opportunities. They’re best placed in any organisation to oversee this strategy and encourage positive change where required.

Additionally, the Gen Z demographic are now moving into employment and 83% of them are looking for a company committed to diversity & inclusion (Monster). They are a huge part of the ‘woke’ movement and expect employers to offer a collaborative environment where everyone is accepted. It’s essential that D&I is integral to your business strategy and having a HR representative on your board would allow you to implement this effectively.  

In summary, the impact and influence that people can have on a business is huge. Failing to recognise that HR is a fundamental department that deserves recognition at board level could leave you high and dry. My recommendation to any board would be to make changes and ensure you have room at the table for your HR Director.

How we can help

Here at Four Recruitment we’re not only your recruiter but also your trusted business partner, providing valuable insight and knowledge into the employment market. You can rely on us to find top talent for your business across HR, finance, business support, supply chain and at executive level. To learn more about how we can help you, get in touch with one of our friendly consultants.

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