Your Company Is Only As Good As Its Human Resources Function
Business leaders charged with growing the enterprise or changing its strategy and culture would be well served to invest more time really getting a handle on their Human Resources function, how it operates and how its influencing enterprise competitiveness.
Far too often, it seems, global executives overanalyse the impact of strategic planning, branding and sales when assessing recent financial performance and chronically underanalyse their organisations’ ability to attract, develop, motivate and retain the people most responsible for elevating results.
That is to say that the human resources function has extraordinary impacts on corporate competitiveness and overall business outcomes. Yet it is often misunderstood, maligned or underfunded, as many HR departments remain today.
From a purely business standpoint, today’s HR function has become the de-facto realm of the Chief Financial Officer. In some companies, it is the CFO who has been making the biggest decisions that impact the caliber of people who come and go, often reducing such critical issues to a matter of cost containment.
Unfortunately, the cheapest answer isn’t always the best, especially when it comes to the long-term viability and competitiveness of the enterprise. But that doesn’t fly with the short-term focus on cost savings and profitability.
The HR function is disadvantaged in lobbying for long-term investment in talent in part because its mandate is very broad and much of its impact transactional in nature. It doesn’t help that some within the HR function either aren’t respected by their management peers or have never really been given an opportunity to focus on only strategic competitive issues.
It’s time, however, for HR to demonstrate leadership as never before. That will force it to demonstrate deep awareness of key business drivers and challenges, and the opportunities that might be seized from current employees and potential recruits.
In times like these, there is tremendous pressure for global managers to manage the numbers. That is, to focus on the visible levers related to sales, profitability, market share and total return to shareholders.
Yet each of these is influenced by the human resources function and the policies, processes and culture it promotes in the pursuit of the same business goals. That’s why any time invested learning how HR is managing the people behind the numbers and the flow of talent in to and out of the enterprise is time well spent.
Odds are, if you can create or collaborate with a winning human resources team, you’ll generate the kind of business dividends that everyone will be talking about.
Copyright © TRANSEARCH International 2013