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Will Hutton

Will Hutton

Principal, Hertford College, Oxford University and chair of the Big Innovation Centre

Ceridian

We are delighted to be associated for the seventh year with the HR Most Influential. The ranking signals great performance each year from those at the forefront of thinking and of delivery in the HR arena and 2012 is no exception. 

Our congratulations go to HR magazine for its leadership, and for recognising those people who have made the biggest impact in the UK and around the world. We also would like to applaud those who have made this year’s rankings and to those who are rising fast. 

The top HR leaders are all increasingly embodying a stronger commercial and business focus than before. As David Ulrich said at the ceremony unveiling the awards: “HR people can increasingly balance the needs of the company with the needs of the people; to allow increased shareholder value and also do social and community good”. 

It’s difficult to see how a good HR strategy on its own can deliver the impact it would like to, unless it’s firmly rooted in the overall business strategy and development. 

As one of the UK’s leading HR and payroll software and outsourcing providers, we recognise the high level of expertise, commitment and know-how needed to even make the short-list. We are lucky enough to work with some brilliant HR leaders in business that are driving a new agenda, some on the Most Influential shortlist. 

We see HR leaders who are embracing technology and new ways of delivery, HR leaders increasing quality of output, whilst at the same time driving down costs, and HR leaders reshaping the skills and capabilities of their own teams to meet the challenges of tomorrow, not those of yesterday. These people are at the forefront of their profession and their passion to innovate and to make life better is infectious.

 It’s interesting to note that, from time-to-time, people enter the HR arena from other disciplines – and often are successful in this transition. What we have seen less of, is where this happens the other way around, and HR people move out into other areas of management. One of the changes on the horizon would be if the key HR thinkers and leaders move outside of their chosen specialism, and broaden their impact into other roles. Once this happens, we suspect that the perennial question of  'the value of HR' will be answered more clearly than ever. 

We hope that you enjoy looking at this year’s profiles, rankings and comments – and good luck to those of you who have a drive to appear here next year too. 

Doug Sawers, managing director, Ceridian UK and Ireland