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In a recent publication – Rethinking Human Resources in a Changing World, the global giant, KPMG has thrown down a significant challenge to HR function in business. I quote…..“We believe there are some things on the horizon that will really shake up HR and make the people agenda as important to the CEO as the balance sheet and P&L statement. With the relentless focus on costs, the problem has been that many HR functions have lost sight of how they can generate value in the wider business.”

They go on to say:” This is a significant issue given that the people agenda in most organizations contains some truly business-critical issues and challenges, such as:

* The war for recruitment and retention of “top talent”

* The engagement of a global workforce operating within a much more fluid environment

* Ensuring the people profile matches the value drivers of the business

* The smart use of technology to support both the business and its employees

* Drawing predictive insights from complex sources of data to ensure the agility of the organization” 

Retaining skills and experience has been identified as the most important challenge and despite what the ‘City’ bankers tell us, it is not necessarily based on money – feeling values are congruent with the reality of the business, feeling your effort is valued and believing you are trusted are key areas for HR to work on. Knowing the emotional intelligence level of employees and how it affects their work ethic, is, in my experience, the key to retention of staff.

Emotional intelligence (EI) covers the areas of decisiveness, influence, motivation, adaptability, consciousness, empathy, stress resilience and self awareness and how these integrate in an individual. There are a few reputable measurements of EI based on extensive benchmarking. Informed coaching through the results is essential to support individual colleagues to clarify what the scales mean for them and to help them understand how critical emotions and behaviours impact on the success of themselves and others.

This rethink around business agility requires agile minds and positive engagement from everyone – senior team, managers, colleagues, stakeholders. Relationships based on fear are ultimately doomed. Technology is the key to agile working, as is mental flexibility, negotiation and self- awareness. There has to be a win-win outcome otherwise engagement and productivity will be seriously affected. Let’s make sure we get this right!

Ann McCracken is the chosen blogger for our Workplace Wellbeing and Stress Summit 2014.


Ann McCracken is a Director of AMC2 and the vice president of the International Management Association (ISMA UK) – the professional body for stress management Practitioners.

She specialises in developing a positive and resilient working culture in organisations by introducing effective strategies in performance and wellbeing at all levels. The effectiveness of such a positive working culture is measured and assessed using AMC2 Corporate Diagnostic innovative surveys which include measurement of psychosocial factors, stress and wellbeing. Having initially trained as a scientist, she carried out research with DEFRA and consultancy in the NHS.

She spent 10 years in Education before retraining as a stress management practitioner in 1996. She is the author of Stress Gremlins©, regularly writes/broadcasts and is an external lecturer at Westminster University. She is also a Key Note/Motivational speaker/Conference Chair.

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