In Melanie’s post earlier this month, she highlighted something that has puzzled me for many decades: the value of HR to an organization. Many business leaders might say that HR is employee-centric and I’m not convinced that they mean this in a positive and constructive way. And some of these business leaders are HR professionals.
So, why has HR struggled for so many years to be accepted and get a place “at the table.” If you delve deeper into Melanie’s post, the answer is there: HR is a process-driven function and often doesn’t understand or take the business outcomes into consideration. I’ve encouraged students and HR professionals to not focus on the HR activities and instead focus on the business—what is trying to be achieved, over what period of time, and what are the resources necessary to succeed? From there, HR can be a value-add partner by truly demonstrating its understanding of the business and then align the employee-centric approaches to those outcomes.
Many of your students may not choose the HR profession. For those that are, you may wish to share with them a great article from McKinsey & Company (The critical importance of the HR business partner). The research presented indicates that while organizations value what HR can bring to its business, most organizations do not find that the HR individuals can deliver. The research suggests that the primary reason for this occurring is that the HR role continues to have both transactional and operational responsibilities which consume both the time and interest of most HR professionals. It also indicates that HR people need to be held accountable and measured for achieving strategic HR goals in the same way that a CFO is held accountable for financial results.
Between both blogs, we hope that you find many ideas to share and discuss with your students.
Eileen Stewart, BA, MBA