HR Doesn't Need to Justify Its Existence

We get so caught up, as HR professionals, in trying to justify our existence, telling anyone who will listen and tweeting to the Twittersphere, that we matter and we add value. We spend so much time that we lose sight of why we are really here for our organizations. We are here to cultivate and develop human resources. We are here to make sure these resources have the tools and environment to learn, develop and succeed. This may not directly generate revenue. This may not get us on the front page of our intranet or the cover of CEO Fancy, but it is our job. We choose to do this.
 
For the most part, we have as many tools to do our job as Finance or IT. I spend time everyday with the highest revenue generating department in my company. They are always talking about the lack of resources, inadequacies of systems and increased pressures to make more with less, and, for some odd reason, they produce. They get the job done and even exceed their expectations. They don't worry about tables, chairs or validation. Their work speaks for itself.
 
It is our responsibility to define HR in our own organizations. I don't care what three CEOs of Fortune 50 companies say about their hatred for HR in their own experiences (unless I work for those companies). Seems to me they should be spending more time with their CHRO and figuring out their issues rather than airing their grievances with some magazine. Call me old fashioned, but I prefer to praise in public and provide constructive feedback in private, but that’s another post. I'm more concerned about what my CEO has to say about HR in the organization where I work. Whether you are an assistant, coordinator, specialist, generalist, or CHRO, you have the opportunity to define what HR is in your organization. Are you a partner? Are your client groups satisfied and engaged with the work you are doing? Fantastic. Keep up the great work.
 
Every organization is different and they come in all shapes and sizes. So what if a CEO from a 20,000+ employee organization hates his HR department? That organization may have different needs than yours. If you are a one-person HR team for a 35 person organization, and the owner, who signs your paycheck, is happy and engaged with the work you’re doing, you are in a good place. Yes, you should always be looking for ways to improve your work, as long as it is within the realities of your job and organization.
 
Do you want to be “disruptive?” Do you really want to rattle some cages? I suggest you go a little old school. Grab a pen and a notebook, and, if you feel the need to go HR tech, grab your iPad. Schedule a meeting with the head of the client group you support, and, simply do a “Start, Stop and Continue” exercise.  If you’re not familiar with that, here’s how it works. Step One: Ask her, “What would you like me to start doing as your HR representative?” Step Two: “What would you like me to stop doing as your HR representative?” Step Three: Ok, ask it with me, “What would you like me to continue doing as your HR representative?” 
 
There it is. There is your roadmap to start shaping how HR is defined for your job and your organization. This is your opportunity to add value, offer suggestions and start being a partner with your client group. This is your time to provide a few solutions and get on the same page as your leaders. You don’t need fancy systems or Sliderocket presentations to do this. You just need an open mind, some thick skin and the desire to make a difference.
 
If you don’t like what you hear or don’t feel you can make an impact, first, try to find a way within your organization. If not, go to an organization that will value your opinion. If you don’t have the skills to accomplish what is expected you, ask for help. 
 
You don’t need the hear the regurgitated hyperbole of 140 characters and a hash tag or read an article of some anonymous CEO who hates his HR department to define HR for you. You need to ask those who pay you. They are your true validation.
 
The SHRM Blog does not accept solicitation for guest posts.
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