Why you need an ACE HR Director

Julia Nickless

By Julia Nickless

19 Mar 2019

Whether Brexit comes to pass at the end of the month with a deal, or without, it’s already well-documented that the uncertainty Brexit has, is and will cause is putting pressure on many organisations. Your organisation may need to consider downsizing or relocating, introduce new policies, or just manage a general sense of unease amongst employees to try and keep them content and motivated. And of course, there are the multitude of factors beyond Brexit that put pressure on organisations in 2019 – evolving ways of working and an ageing population to name just a few.

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In this climate, your organisation’s HR function will need to be ready to deal with situations proactively – and a lot of that will come from having a strong human resources director. But what makes a strong HR director – or interim HR director – in 2019?

Find an ACE HR director

At Connor we see three primary qualities that make for a successful HR director in 2019:


  • The ability to think on their feet and alter plans, both proactively and reactively, can be an important trait for a human resources director. Agility allows them to be flexible, changing tack when needed. Brexit is typified by long periods of uncertainty interspersed with sudden periods of change. A flexible HR director enables an organisation, and its HR function, to quickly adapt to minimise risk – for instance, being able to implement a relocation quickly in response to changing market conditions. Agility in the HR function also allows your organisation to capitalise on opportunities; perhaps by quickly changing the way they support different parts of the business to provide maximum value to the business.


  • We know that HR directors everywhere are keen to prove the value of their function to the wider business – so a commercial mindset can be invaluable for HR leaders. This is especially relevant given the fragility of business and the economy in 2019; anything that the organisation can do to maximise cost-efficiency will be well received. But a commercial mindset doesn’t just mean a laser focus on the bottom line (though of course that is a part of it). It also means measuring the impact of HR’s work and sharing that impact with the wider leadership team. A commercially-focused HR director will put forward plans that outline with both the impact on people and the organisation’s bottom line, and also having the courage to halt activities that are proven to not add value to an organisation.

Enabling Mindset

  • A forward-thinking HR director, who finds ways to say ‘yes’ rather than reasons to say ‘no’, can be a real asset to any organisation. Without this mindset it’s far harder to act in an agile manner, as any change will initially be met with resistance rather than with enthusiasm. An enabling mindset enables an HR director to take a potentially negative situation, such as a site closure brought on by Brexit, and transform it into an opportunity – perhaps by finding effective ways to support employees through the transition, or sourcing outplacement support for those who might be made redundant as a result of the closure. An enabling mindset not only improves the ability to plan and execute; it can re-assure troubled colleagues during uncertain times. When being positively led from the top, an organisation’s employees can feel more confident in the work they are doing and the processes being put in place.
Connor’s years of experience and strong talent contacts can help an organisation when they are looking to recruit an HR director with these ACE qualities. As an agency that can act as both an HR recruiter but also offer extensive people development services, we can also assist in coaching the talent you already have, to upskill your current HR director, where a new hire isn’t either wanted or needed. To talk to us about how were can help you recruit a new HR director, or about our coaching plans, please contact us or call us on +44 (0)1491 414 010.


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