Helping Human Resources Deliver Better Business Value

Ask the Chief Executive of virtually any global company about their experience with Human Resources leaders, and you will likely get one of two responses.

First, are the “strategic HR leaders” who are very few in number but incredibly valuable when it comes to sorting the most important people issues from all the others that influence corporate performance and profitability.

Then, there are all the others. These are often defined as “tactical”, or as “order takers”, or worse.

So how could it be that such a long-standing function of today’s modern global business enterprise be so widely maligned and castigating for doing much of what the enterprise has asked it to accomplish?

The answer, quite literally, is because most Human Resources departments have much too much on their plates.

Today’s HR team is responsible for tackling challenges as complicated and intermittent as CEO succession planning and process implementation, as strategic as executive compensation and talent acquisition, and as mundane and predictable as payroll, benefits administration and scheduling the company holiday party.
Whether through its own lack of business knowledge and strategic initiative, or too broad a scope of accountabilities that often fail to distinguish the strategic from the tactical, today’s Human Resources function continues to get a bad rap.

The question, for many global business leaders, is what to do about it.

While many readily admit they’d prefer to remain at arms length with their own company’s HR function, what’s needed is quite the opposite.

At a time when some leaders are poised to give up completely on the HR function as anything more than a tactical, purely administrative function, it’s even more important for global leaders to get closer to it.

Real change can only be achieved when other corporate functions help the HR function lay out a new, strategic focus on key business challenges, and to advocate for HR when they consistently see new and improved results being achieved.

Ask around, and lots of people will tell you the HR function is broken. Okay, assuming they are right, what’s next? If people are indeed our top competitive advantage – and the largest piece of our corporate budget – what can and should we do to maximise the return on that investment?

The reality is that Human Resources leaders have their own ideas about why they’re not delivering results that consistently drive strategic value. It’s time to engage them, understand what they see as the roadblocks to better performance, and to invest in their best ideas.

Complaining about HR isn’t enough. In fact, it’s passé. Engaging HR is what’s next. Seize the opportunity.

Copyright © TRANSEARCH International 2015

 

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