CHRE applications and was also part of the review committee
for the new competency model that identifies Certified Human
Resources Professional (CHRP), Certified Human Resources
Leader (CHRL) and CHRE differentiation. I really like the
framework that has been put into place that provides legitimacy to
the profession. Having that body of knowledge as guidance for upand
coming HR professionals is a tremendous thing.
What’s the future of HR?
MH: I hate the discussion where people say that HR has to have
a seat at the table – well, you don’t have to have it, you earn it and
you should be at the table. I’ve been fortunate enough to work in
organizations where I’ve been at the table, not because I’ve asked
to be there but because I’ve demonstrated a value-added contribution
worthy of being at the table. You have to think with the end
goal in mind. You need, early on, to demonstrate your value-added
contribution to the organization. n
companies and integrating them into the ole framework, yet being
sensitive to the existing cultures of the companies that are
being acquired because, in most cases, it has been those cultures
that have made them successful. We want to maintain that but we
also want to ensure that there’s an overarching ole framework that
maintains true to our vision, mission and values.
What’s key to leading HR during a difficult
time for a client organization?
MH: Commitment to the strategy and people management programs
– essentially being true to oneself. Being a voice for the
organization in terms of working with the executive team and
keeping those principles front and centre. You want to maintain
the strong value system that you’ve built and continue it going
What skills are important for success in HR?
MH: Dealing with ambiguity would certainly be one. I think empathy
and ability to listen to understand, as Stephen Covey
would say, so you are giving voice to people but also helping them
see the corporate picture. You’re reinforcing that message so that
you have a constant view on organizational alignment. I’m a big
believer in putting responsibility and accountability in the hands
of the people who are doing the work but ensuring that there’s
a direct line of sight back to organizational direction and goals.
The strategic planning process, the goal setting process, how you
manage KPIs – that whole infrastructure is extremely critical to
What tips do you have for new grads or those in entrylevel
HR jobs who want to move up the ladder?
MH: This is going to sound pretty old school but you have to pay
your dues a little bit. You need to understand the various disciplines
in HR – I’m certainly no specialist in terms of compensation
or benefits, but I think you have to have some fundamental experience
and knowledge in each of the various disciplines to then be
able to provide counsel and expertise to your client base.
You also need to have a customer service mentality. The organization
is your client base and you need to treat them the way you
expect your frontline employees to deal with the company’s customers.
I think we lose sight of that sometimes and we get too
hung up on process and policy. I’m forever hearing people complain
about HR as the “policy police,” but it doesn’t need to be
that way. You earn your spot as an advisor and counsellor to the
business based on the strength of your skillset and value of your
contribution. So, getting to the point where you’re sought out for
your insight and your counsel should be goal of every HR person.
The HR field has been evolving. What
changes excite you the most?
MH: I have to say the move towards more rigorous discipline
within the profession. I’ve been fortunate to be one of the early
waves of designees for what was the Senior Human Resources
Professional (SHRP) designation, now the Certified Human
Resources Executive (CHRE) from the Human Resources
Professionals Association (HRPA). I’m on the selection panel for
IN A NUTSHELL:
First job: Part-time sales person for Jack Fraser Menswear
at 15 years old
Childhood ambition: I think after watching JAG, being a
military lawyer would have been a pretty cool adventure.
Best boss and why: My boss at Deeley Harley-Davidson
Canada, Buzz Green, our SVP and general manager.
Always the smartest guy in the room, knew everyone’s job
and how they did it but was never arrogant enough to tell
them. He knew how to dig into the detail, how to get to the
root cause of things but also knew how to maximize the
efforts of the team so everybody was successful. To me,
those are absolute hallmarks of an incredible leader.
Current source of inspiration: Watching my three daughters
grow into young adulthood and take on the world in
their own way
Best piece of advice ever received: Never take anything
for granted. It was given in relation to learning to ride a
motorcycle but I think it has application across many platforms.
Don’t take your job for granted, don’t take your
family for granted – everything has to be worked for.
Favourite music: I have a very eclectic music taste –
classic rock but I also enjoy listening to classical. With my
kids’ influence, some country. But I listen to everything –
I like some new indie music and some coffeehouse-type
Last book read: I read voraciously, and I just read the last
three James Rollins novels – The Bone Labyrinth is the
one I just finished.
46 ❚ NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2016 ❚ HR PROFESSIONAL