The image of HR as paper-pushers who only care about policies and bureaucracy is creating a disconnect from the real value of human resources. After 20 years of working with HR leaders, I've gotten a good sense of the issue at hand. Here's the deal.
A while back, the Wall Street Journal published an article examining the current needs of human resource departments within organizations. The reporters interviewed companies that had disbanded their HR teams in an attempt to better integrate the HR function into the core of the business.
From the perspective of many, HR is out of the loop, disconnected from employees, hyper-focused on policies without seeing the big picture, and generally out of touch with the business of the organization. When enough people start to view HR this way, it’s not surprising to see a push to eliminate it altogether.
As a company that works with HR leaders to develop engaging compliance training, we have encountered all ranges of organizations. I have heard of start-up tech organizations that have received well over $40MM in venture capital funding decide to completely outsource their HR to India. Seriously? Why would they outsource the key person focused on their organization's culture?
Simple answer: These start-ups (and their venture capital firm) don't think their HR department holds much value.
Here’s the scoop — the industry has many smart, business-savvy HR professionals. They're helping organizations by coaching managers and employees in their people skills, resolving employee conflict (which happens daily), and helping foster positive employee relations.
Without someone focused on these issues — you run into larger problems that drag down the productivity and profitability of an organization. This doesn't take into account HR’s essential understanding of the regulatory landscape and its ability to navigate around actions that could cause legal exposure.
Unfortunately, there are many HR professionals who don’t feel the need to understand the business of their organization very well. When this type of disconnect happens, they lose credibility pretty quickly.
You need someone on your team who completely understands your company culture and business goals. Someone who is trained and experienced at the “soft skills” of a business, including management, communication, conflict resolution, etc. These skills are vital to creating a healthy and productive business culture and realistically, that just doesn’t happen all by itself.
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