The Irish Examiner picked up on a talk I gave a few weeks back:


Human Resources managers need to be given a place on the Board, otherwise companies risk losing key staff to their competition, according to Fortify Services MD, Rowan Manahan.

“No company in the world has a CHRO – a Chief of Human Resources Officer,” said Mr Manahan. “They have either a CFO or a COO to whom the HR function reports. Very few companies have a senior member of the management team who has an equal voice at the table. These people are the ones to have to hire the ‘right’ people; companies tell us that people are the main focus of their business and yet the HR people don’t have a seat at the table – it doesn’t add up.”

Rowan Manahan delivered a talk entitled Square Pegs and Round Holes in the War for Talent (Give me a Big Enough Mallet …) at a Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development (CIPD) breakfast in Maryborough House, Cork. During the talk, sponsored by, Manahan urged the CIPD members to lobby for their own inclusion at Board level.

“Currently, HR are not sufficiently part of the decision-making process when it comes to attracting and retaining key staff. They are the ones who receive the panic calls for more staff and they are frequently the ones who get stuck with the blame for hiring the wrong people. Companies need to shift their mindset on all of this – in the knowledge economy those who do will thrive and those who don’t will die.”

Gallup International conduct extensive research into the attitudes of employees. There are, broadly speaking three levels:

  1. Those who are actively engaged and committed to the organisation
  2. Those who are actively disengaged – poisonous to the organisation
  3. Those in the middle of the bell curve, who have no strong feelings either way and who just ‘sail along.’

Staff in the honeymoon period of starting work in a new company love most aspects of their new job with 40% declaring themselves “absolutely happy.” After three years, only 20% are still highly engaged, the remaining 80% demonstrating varying degrees of staring out the window.

As to the root cause of all of this, Manahan said, “I call it the Pinocchio effect. In job adverts and interviews, companies tell ‘porkies’ about the jobs and the organisation. On the other side of the table, jobseekers regularly oversell themselves. Yet both sides are still stunned when they end up with a bad fit.”