The changing Face of HR
Human Resources Today - A new calling?
How powerful is a good idea if it has minimum impact? How effective is your pipeline of well qualified managers without appropriate training to become quality leaders? All of those on one side of the fence would go on to articulate that HR today is a one stop solution to most complex business problems. As Kevin Robinson once said, “Human resources are like natural resources; they're often buried deep. You have to go looking for them; they're not just lying around on the surface. You have to create the circumstances where they show themselves.” Today, almost every consciously / sub-consciously created workplace scenario demands the highly required expertise of a Human Resources department.
The changing face of HR
Gone are the years where the primary tasks of an HR department involved administering payroll and employee benefit schemes, and occasionally planning company outings. Today human resources professionals are more likely to be strategic partners to their business colleagues. The scale that balances significance of duties has surely shifted towards envisaging interventions that impact organizational capability, performance and productivity for the HR community to be focused on. The light now shines on how to make the most of your people. Looking at the fundamental change in the role of this function, there have naturally been major changes in the skills required off HR professionals. They now have to deal not only with traditional issues such as employee relations and pay and benefits, but also need to focus on organisational development, employee engagement and corporate social responsibility. In addition they also need highly developed strategic, financial, analytical, and technical skills. It is high time to see the marketing side of HR get more emphasis and HR should be at the center of developing projects that enable employees and lead the organizations they work in to the most productive outcomes.
How can we transform ourselves?
The first step is for the fraternity to look at themselves in the mirror and recognize what they are really good at and what do they need to do to take a quantum leap rather than being satisfied with incremental improvements in our profession. The second step is to build trust through transparency – being very open with our employees and leaders on what we are good at and what do we need to improve; being very open about how they are partners in this journey and be transparent about our agenda. The third is about inverting the pyramid. We see the roles of HR and the line manager to encourage and empower people to become better innovators or what at HCL we call, ideapreneurs. HR needs to also put himself in the shoes of the business leader to tap the power of the workforce to deliver the business outcome. It is time to make line managers better people partners. In light of today’s economic volatility and uncertainty every aspect of business is being re-examined for its value in creating and sustaining profitable growth. In order to add significant value to a business, HR must be able to support and enable the execution of strategy by ensuring value for the client.
The roles HR people play need to be re-framed as we go forward to chart the course of work in the future:
Business and People Partner
Since strategy lies at the core of all business models, it is imperative for the HR person to contribute to the development of and the accomplishment of the organization-wide plans and objectives and validate their success metrics. The strategic HR professional is deeply knowledgeable about how this partnership impacts HR services such as the design of work positions; hiring; reward, recognition and strategic pay; performance development and appraisal systems; career and succession planning; and employee development. When HR professionals are aligned with the business, the component of their work which impacts people is co-owned by the line leader as he sees the relationship key to being a strategic contributor to business success.
It is the most difficult task to address individual needs and build trust among teams which are of an extremely heterogeneous nature while keeping the strategic purpose in mind. The HR manager plays an integral role in organizational success via his knowledge about and advocacy of people. This includes expertise in how to create a work environment in which people will choose to be engaged and contribute.
It is often said that people don’t leave companies, they leave managers. Hence the onus of creating quality leaders who seed, nurture and harvest talent also falls upon HR. HR certainly assumes the mantle of being the owner of culture in an organisation by aligning beliefs, intentions, promises and actions to create a workplace where people build competency, demonstrate concern and reflect commitment to exceed expectations of their customers.
Turbulent economic conditions, coming in of the new millennial workforce and the constant evaluation of the effectiveness of the organization results has resulted in the need for the HR professional to frequently champion change and also react in a quicker, more tactical manner. Armed with knowledge about and the ability to execute successful change strategies make the HR professional exceptionally valued. They know how to link change to the strategic needs of the organization and that leads to lesser resistance to change. Driving and managing change in an ever changing business environment is one of the toughest tasks at play and a resourceful HR professional understands its importance while simultaneously motivating people to perform to their optimum capability.
As companies decentralise responsibility and decision making, the focus on hiring the right people at the right time has become extremely magnified. Managing all sorts of people issues has come to the forefront. Line managers and business heads now have to deal with many people related matters and HR is ultimately responsible to facilitate this. Developing the best practices in the recruitment and retention of people, is now a critical role for organizational success. Line leaders have to meet HR half way and this partnership is accountable to support, challenge, and facilitate business strategy.
If the HR leaders in your organization is not transforming itself to align with future ready practices, executive leadership must revisit the HR agenda. The role of the HR professional must parallel the needs of his or her changing organization. Successful organizations are becoming more adaptive, resilient, and customer-centric. It is time we realised that excellent customer experience can only be delivered if our people deliver value whether they are developing products, managing systems, or serving customers directly. So it is imperative that the function reinvents itself to be the steward of the organizational culture that ensures people enhance the ‘value zone’ in every interaction with their stakeholders.