The HR revolution: Why we need it
Whereas business leaders should be forming a queue at the doors of HR departments, this is very rarely the case. Ensuring their organisation has a well-equipped and functioning HR team should be extremely high on every CEO’s and business leader’s priorities, but instead they tend to see HR as — at best a department there to solve problems, and at worst — a drain on resources with little or no benefit to the business. For far too long, HR has been seen as a brake to the company’s progress, not the means by which it can achieve it. It is time to reinforce the true meaning — and value — of HR business partnerships.
The business wheel
In essence, business and a business’ goals are very simple, no matter what industry you are in. Customers have to buy what the company is selling and the staff need to get paid. Regardless of everything else, if you can get those two sides of that very simple equation right, everything else is a whole lot easier to achieve. The problem that arises if one or both of these objectives are not met, is more often the usual perception. CEOs tend to like and concentrate their time, efforts — and praise — on the so-called “business people”. These are the sales teams, the product and business managers, as these whom are most obviously bringing in the money ‘directly’ to the company.
On the other side of the coin, CEOs don’t put as much weight onto the HR department’s achievements, or can even undermine, or try to halt their progress, especially when those people are increasing the integrity of the organisation.
Because of this, when a business achieves its targets it is the operations teams that get the credit, while if it fails to hit them, the blame is more often pointed at the HR team. When this happens, it is often accompanied by the cry of “we need more people”.
The daily challenges for organisations
The two main goals of a business mentioned earlier can only be achieved if a lot of other factors are in place and are working well. Unfortunately there are many other issues that occur in the workplace that can prevent this from happening. Examples of these include talent management, conflicts between managers and employees, succession planning, diversity and much more.
Every one of these — and there are many more — will have a very real, and a very negative impact on the business’ overall performance, and HR is the only place where those issues will be confronted, tackled and dealt with. Yet HR is still nine times out of 10, not considered to be a business partner by the very same people whom are suffering at the hands of the issues listed above and others.
Today’s HR departments need to not only be more proactive in terms of producing tangible results for the company, they need to be seen to be doing it too. This will change people’s perception of the industry and will mean they will get less resistance, and more support going forward. They need to step up and concentrate on issues such as change management and succession planning — areas where results and solutions are produced and are evident for everyone to see.
Resistance of having a modern HR
A successful and well-functioning HR department will shine a spotlight on the areas of the business not performing well. It will reveal the business gaps, the shortcomings in employees and other departments. This, and more often than not the fear of this happening, is where the biggest resistance comes in to opening up the business to the HR team. People are wary of looking bad if their team is not hitting KPI’s, so instead of using HR to help them achieve it they are likely to resist their influence in the first place.
Solutions towards achieving a modern performing HR department
This needs to come from all sides of the business, both inside and outside of HR. Human resource professionals need to understand and adapt to the business — the specific one in which they operate, and the demands of modern business in general.
On the flip side, management should provide a seat for HR in executive meetings. This will have the double benefit of HR being involved in crucial decision making processes, and will also raise the department’s profile.
Finally, all candidates should have to pass a behaviour test before progressing to the business interview, as part of the recruitment process. This should be absolutely mandatory for every job, every candidate. There will never be the case where only one person is qualified to perform the role, and the way the person behaves is equally as crucial and needs to be seen as so.
The golden key
Realistically, in order for these things to happen, the changes need to come from the very top. That person needs to not only recognise the power and benefit of having a modern HR department, but they also need to put actions in place so that the department is central to the business’ development, progress and success.