As HR departments plan recruitment budgets, L&D programmes and reward incentives for next year, how can reflecting on the past 12 months help inform your HR strategy? Here, top HR professionals look back on their challenges of 2013.

Strategy vs. reaction

Derren-Young---image“The obsession to be strategic can be dangerous as we can miss what’s really happening. While there’s a time and place for this, the profession shouldn’t be embarrassed to be reactive sometimes. We’re here to enable and support our companies or organisations. My company moves so fast it’s not always easy to keep up. There are opportunities to plan and create a vision for the future, but we add the most value by helping the business reach its immediate goals.”

-Derren Young, HR director – London office, Universal Music Group

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Challenges in finance

Simon Lloyd - image“We need to rebuild trust with our customers, which cannot just happen overnight. We must ensure that all people policies and processes are aligned with the culture we want to build.”

-Simon Lloyd, HR director, Santander

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Planning career development

Joanna Ruffle“We employ more than 15,000 employees covering more than 250 roles. Finding a systematic way of helping employees and managers map out their career pathways has been a challenge. During performance appraisal interviews every employee is asked about their career aspirations and encouraged to have an open and honest conversation.”

-Joanna Ruffle, head of policy & performance, Southend on Sea Borough Council

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Talent in the Middle East

Sherif Elgoeiry - image“Middle Eastern governments are exerting great effort to create initiatives to encourage the employment and development of local talent. Within this framework, it becomes a strategic priority for HR professionals in the region to develop appropriate and responsible plans for localization; this also becomes part of the company’s corporate social responsibility.”

-Sherif Elogeiry, Chartered MCIPD head of HR – Middle East, Imperial Tobacco Group

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International challenges

Kerry - image“Some of the HR challenges here [Hong Kong] are the same as those experienced by all HR leaders – understanding business needs and priorities, building trusted advisor relationships with leaders and working strategically to help define and lead business change. The special challenge of working in Asia comes from the complexity of dealing with markets at different stages of maturity and opportunity.”

-Kerry Ford, HR director, Baker & McKenzie China, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Korea

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What were your biggest challenges in 2013? Do you have any ideas on what the next year might bring for HR? We’d love to hear your thoughts – please share in the comments below.

Interested in what the future holds for HR in 2014? Stay tuned for our predictions in Changeboard’s January printed issue

Written by Katie Richard, online content editor, Changeboard

Katie Richard, online content editor, Changeboard

Online content editor for Changeboard; Canadian in London; lover of books, magazines & design.

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