The Website and Blog of HR Author and Speaker Lori Kleiman

The Board and Leadership Is Suddenly Interested in HR

What should you do when the Board wants to know more about Human Resources, and wants you to make a presentation at their next meeting?The Board or executive team has an interest in knowing more about Human Resources, and wants you to make a presentation at their next meeting. It’s up to you to determine the content, and to present within a 15-minute time frame. EY has a very comprehensive study looking at the importance of these issues.

Some HR leaders decide to present information to their Board about the HR function and how it is contributing to the bottom line of the organization. Others decide to present insight about the human capital within the organization and how HR is managing the performance and productivity of employees. However, what if you considered a presentation of information that is most pertinent to a governance board, and that is how HR is actively managing critical risk factors associated with the overall success of the company.

When an HR leader presents itself as part of the risk management operations, the Board hears a more innovative message that has a direct impact upon their oversight responsibilities. This type of presentation shifts from “interesting to know” to “critical to know”, and wakes up any Board member that would otherwise tend to day dream through the HR item on the Board’s agenda.

Here are some pointers for a Risk Management presentation to leadership and boards:

  1. Communicate your understanding of those roles that are the most critical to the Company’s success, and how is HR ensuring that great hires are brought into those roles, how indispensable performers remain engaged, committed, and loyal, and how contingency planning is in place in the event of a resignation, termination, or a role change (i.e., promotion).
  2. Speak about the way that HR related expenses (e.g., compensation, benefits, technologies) are being managed against the targeted bottom line and at the same contributing to high levels of employee engagement, productivity, and retention. What new initiatives have been launched and how are they working to support the balance of expense management and profitable growth.
  3. Know that leadership and boards like data to back up information that is shared, so metrics such as cost per hire, revenue per employee, absenteeism rates, turnover and tenure trends, benefit and salary costs, and worker’s compensation expenses are all risk management items that are of interest to a Board member and leaders.

Make sure you don’t over promise but offer to demonstrate HR’s contributions with facts, trends, and benchmarks. Have your data available, but watch the audience! They are not always interested in a data dump. If you are a trusted advisor to leadership, they often want to know what you see and recommend, and trust you have the data that supports those facts.

Be sure to align your presentation with not only risk factors but also the company’s long term strategies. Showing how HR factors influence profitable growth, expanded market share, or mission achievement will ensure that the leadership is listening.

… Oh, and make sure the President supports and, in fact, has pride in your presentation. If all goes well, you’ll be invited back to the Board room on a regular basis.

These ideas are covered in Lori’s 3rd book – Taking your SEAT at the table – click here to order your copy today!

Lori Kleiman is an HR expert who presents to business people and groups. Click here to see a video of Lori in action. If you’d like to have Lori keynote one of her HR presentations at your upcoming event, click here, or email Lori directly at!
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