'We need to become bilingual so we can speak in both business and HR terms': Sharon Looney, CHRO of CoreHR

Sharon Looney, chief human resources officer (CHRO) at CoreHR spoke to HRreview  whilst at the company’s Core Horizon HR conference (14th-15th November) which took place in Ireland where she discussed the need for HR to become bilingual so HR professionals can speak in both business and HR terms, so their company can fully understand them.

HRreview: How can we bridge the “credibility gap” as you put it in organisations?

Ms Looney: This is perceived to be a big gap and an enduring struggle within HR. We have huge complexities within our administration. We need to become masters of our businesses.  Professionals in HR need to become bilingual so that they can speak in a business language as well as in HR terms. It’s not up to organisations to trust us, it’s our responsibility to show we can be trusted. We need to become fluent in the language of business.

HRreview: You have worked in 32 countries in an HR capacity, are there any common themes that you have encountered amongst the different cultures?

Ms Looney: Irrespective of the industry, geography and of your HR experience, your credibility to the company will become irrelevant if you’re not mastering your own business. HR language can be very abstract, it is the business that does not understand how we speak, we must overcome this language barrier.

HRreview: You have said HR is the accelerant function that enables change and transformation, how should HR ensure that they can be an effective catalyst?

Ms Looney: Tenure does not matter, we should become less obsessed with generating a positive employee experience and master the basics. We should get rid of complexities which will make us more agile. We should embrace technology which will become our headlights that make our track clearer.

HRreview: Why do you feel JD Sports selected your product to help them on their journey?

Ms Looney:  JD Sports and CoreHR share cultural alignment and they like our product due to the agility we have shown as we can accelerate with the business if we need to. At Core Horizon, Claire Tomlinson, head of HR transformation and change at JD Sports won the award ‘Excellence in HR leadership’.