Be seen and heard or face extinction

first_imgIrecently read a report, which, while not hugely scientific and a bitAmerican-centric, made worrying reading for HR the world over. Theresearch by online career centre Execunet indicates that job demand for seniorHR executives fell in 2001 by more then 36 per cent on the previous year. OnlyIT had a bigger drop. Since the firm started tracking such data in 1997, HR haseither trailed the averages in growth or led them in contraction every year. Whenthe CEO calls in the finance director to talk about reducing cost structures,the dialogue frequently raises two key questions: “Where can we afford tomake cuts?” and “Where can we not afford to make cuts?”.Usually, those departments not seen to be adding value – particularly if theyhave failed to market themselves – are brought up in those discussions. In manycases it is HR.Ofcourse, there are many organisations where HR is doing a stellar job, but it istoiling in the background and going dangerously unnoticed. I believe HR has an obligationto itself and its company to market and position its work and its successes ina visible way.Itis typical that as personnel data is established and improvements documented,monthly updates are sent out to the HR team. But does the team then share theseresults with their line managers? Just as quarterly numbers are circulated fromthe finance team, quarterly statistics and highlights should be circulated fromHR.WhenJ Randall MacDonald (now at IBM) was head of HR at telecoms giant GTE, he introducedone of the most robust HR scorecards I’ve seen. It took clear measures fromevery corner of HR and rolled them into a four-page report which wasdistributed around the company. It meant that when discussions took place onwhich areas of the business were adding value, there was never a question aboutwhat HR did, what its value was, and how it was improving.IfHR fails to market its value, business could well marginalise it, orrationalise it completely. The administrative function of HR’s remit is alreadybeing outsourced to the Accentures and Exults of this world. Furthermore, manyemployee-centric areas of ‘traditional HR’ are being redirected to intranetsites, where employees are given self-service privileges. In manyorganisations, primary manager tools are now Web-based, no longer requiring HRinvolvement.Thisleaves the profession with highly specialised areas such as employment law andemployee relations – these are hard areas to quantify. So,HR has to become more adept at voicing the value of good HR, proving to theboard that HR actively participates – and leads – in the company’s mission.This is essential to its survival as a profession.ByLance Richards, member of the board of directors for SHRM Global Forum and the EditorialAdvisory Board of Personnel Today sister publication GlobalHR Previous Article Next Article Be seen and heard or face extinctionOn 19 Feb 2002 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos. Comments are closed. last_img

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