Just as each organization has its own operational philosophy, culture and strategic goals, so too must its HR team have a well-defined philosophy that outlines how they will carry out their responsibilities in alignment. Sadly, a number of HR departments have taken this to mean that they should develop buzzword -filled pieces of marketing collateral that can be blessed by their PR departments and placed on company websites. These are as meaningless as most corporate mission statements – beautifully written pieces of fluff that have no basis in reality or actual practice. This needs to stop.
A real HR philosophy can be very informal and there is no reason to share it with anyone beyond the internal HR department and/or senior leadership. The purpose becomes clear, however, when a human resources team outlines the principles they will use to determine how HR operates in alignment with their unique organizational mission, values and strategic vision. This HR philosophy then provides a framework for the HR staff as they determine how they will behave, how decisions will be made, and how they will determine items of importance.
It’s key to remember that the organization’s culture and values (behaviors and norms) set the boundaries, and the HR philosophy must be in alignment and fit like custom-designed haute couture. A homespun corn-fed HR philosophy has no place in a company that evokes the atmosphere of a dimly lit martini bar. And naturally, as organizational culture evolves or transforms, the HR philosophy (and resulting approach to HOW human resources is practiced) must also evolve.
By taking the time to outline this philosophy, HR leaders can define the “hows” and “whys” of managing the HR function including clarifying assumptions and/or beliefs about people. Taking the time to define the HR philosophy is the step to take before planning the HR strategy which will then lead to the alignment of processes, policies, standards and HR roles/responsibilities with the organization’s objectives and goals.
Please join us at 3 p.m. ET on July 24 for #Nextchat with special guest Robin Schooling (@RobinSchooling). We’ll discuss how to go about defining your organization’s HR philosophy and how this aligns with your HR strategy and practices. We’ll discuss the following questions:
Q1. As an HR professional, how do you define HR philosophy?
Q2. How did you/your team create an HR philosophy in your organization? What components were given the most consideration?
Q3. Has your HR philosophy ever been challenged? How did you respond?
Q4. Does a successful HR strategy depend upon having an HR philosophy? Why or why not?
Q5. How can an organization’s industry and competition (and competition for talent) affect development of its HR philosophy?
Q6. How does HR philosophy affect organizational culture and engagement?
Q7. Should the development of your HR philosophy be shared with other departments and senior leadership? Why or why not?