Sunday, January 13, 2008

More than just HR...

Veritude came out with a survey titled “Working together, Working apart”which looked at business and HR leaders working relationship and common understanding of each other issues.

Overall, the research reveals that in many companies, HR must improve their business leaders' perceptions of theirs skills and abilities and business leaders must learn to turn to HR for support in addressing workforce issues. There is ample room for optimism that both business and HR leaders in this study recognize these trends are working toward effective plans.

1.Strategic Business Challenges: Both business and HR leaders agree that talent acquisition and recruitment top the list of strategic business issues, but one in five business and HR leaders see HR as only involved in "implementing " strategy, not participating in plan development. What's more, a common perception is that HR is lacking adequate financial aptitude and therefore is not asked to contribute to strategy development because they do not speak the language of business.

2.The Relationship between Business and HR Leaders: Many business leaders indicate they do not have an established relationship with HR or it world not occur to them to include HR in implementing workforce plans. In general HR leasers agree that business leaders minimize the role that HR plays in workforce planning and don't consider the full scope of HR's ability and expertise.

3.The Impact of Business and HR Leaders' Relationship on Operations: Business leaders perceive HR as "resource constrained" and, as such, unable to effectively implement workforce plans. In turn, HR believes business leaders set unrealistic timeframes, lack an understanding of workforce issues, and are inconsistent in implementing initiatives.
Frankly to me all these survey reports don’t come as a big surprise. I guess I’ve been reading about such “observations / findings” and “recommendation” and the more things change the more they remain the same. Off late I’ve become a big critique of the word “strategic HR” and terms like “HR leaders”. To me it doesn’t make any sense to have them in the best organizations around. No organization today would be great just because it has “strategic HR plans” or it has the “best HR leaders”. Any business challenge today is also a “strategic HR challenge”.

It can either be the growing competition to acquire talent or develop competencies or even explore new market opportunities. Its time so called HR leaders talk about business strategy and take ownership for the business plan rather than just the HR plan. No CEO of an organization expects that functional leaders like HR, Finance or quality should stick only to their piece of pie. Only the ones who dare to break the shibboleth and take the stride to add values with business insights are truly recognized asthe Business leaders and go beyond the cliché of “HR leaders”. I think the expectation today is very different as so called HR challenges are not just being handled by HR leaders .It’s a decision taken by the think tanks as the impact of such decisions are huge. So apart from owning the execution of the HR business plan, today’s expectation is what value one can bring to business plan and its execution.

Even the client model of HR partnership is something which needs to be re-looked at considering the varied situations which the decision makers may find themselves. As far as the transactional and operational activities are concerned the client approach works well to bring about speed and quality in execution and resolving operational issues. However when it comes to business decision making the “consultant approach” is something which HR leaders must do away with. It reinforces the notion that the HR continues to adopt “global approach” to solve and own challenges. The funda is simple “take ownership, go beyond your role, and challenge the conventional wisdom”. Trust me you’ll never be called just another “HR leader” as you would be respected for being a business leader who knows HR and comes from HR background :)

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