What is the purpose of human resources in an organization?

Have you ever wondered about the purpose of human resources? Does the stereotypical HR person represent you? Are we working to make sure everyone is “playing nicely” and that every rule is being followed to the letter of the law? Are we planning picnics and making sure that nobody’s feelings are hurt whenever a decision is made?

Lord, I hope not. 

I see the purpose of human resources as something else entirely, and some of the brightest people in the entire human capital industry do as well. Check out this phenomenal quote that made me stop in awe–it encapsulates well the true purpose of human resources.

HR departments should focus both on talent (getting better people) and organization (building stronger capabilities). If the focus is only on talent, the organization may be a disconnected group of all-stars who don’t play well together and don’t win over time. Line managers need to find great people, but then create great organizations for the people to work in. The strongest HR departments help secure talent and shape organizations.

And that, my friends, is a great example of what HR should be about. When you’re looking at your “to do” list, the major items should always map back to those two key components: getting better people and building stronger capabilities.

Everything else is second.

Because at the end of the day, your leadership team is going to pat you on the back not for the great cake you baked or the employee whose hand you held when they had a tough time, but for the talent and the culture that will sustain the business through good and bad times. That’s your true role. That’s the purpose of human resources.

Are you living out your purpose as an HR pro? Why or why not?

Kris Dunn NASHRMOkay, so I may have made up the name for the HR Capitalist Challenge (HRCC), but I didn’t make up the idea. Kris Dunn wrote a post last week about having passion for what you do. Like KD, I firmly believe that being passionate about what you do will put you ahead of so many others.

Pause: If you don’t know who Kris Dunn is, then you might want to check out his site linked above. He’s a pretty cool guy. The photo you see here is from when he came to my local SHRM chapter and spoke about using social media as a business professional. You can see from the line that he was pretty popular.

So what’s the HRCC, the thrill-inducing topic of this post? In his article, Kris talked about three questions that really show what your passion looks like. I’m going to answer the questions for myself. I’m also forwarding the challenge onto the rest of you. Continue reading

comic book leadersShall I make yet another confession? Yes, I believe I shall.

I like comic books.

While I haven\’t been an active reader in years, I still love flipping through them at the bookstore. Recently my brother passed me a copy of a magazine that had an article about Marvel Comics (the company that made the movies for Spiderman, Wolverine, Hulk, Iron Man, etc.). The article focused on their editor in chief, Joe Quesada. I think there were some great leadership (and HR) tenets that were covered, and I\’ll share a few of them with you. Continue reading

After all of the “end of 2009” and “here comes 2010” posts I’ve been reading, I realized I haven’t done my own! I checked my phone, and I have lots of jumbled ideas. Maybe I can straighten them out and have some smooth sailing into the new year. Let’s unpack, shall we? I’m just typing as fast as I can and will probably miss quite a few things.

Looking back at 2009

Created UpstartHR

I created UpstartHR and really got into writing online. It’s been an eye-opening experience for me, and I am thrilled to be a part of an amazing community.

Made LOTS of friends

I don’t have the space or time to mention all of the friends and acquaintances I’ve made this year. Andrew, April, Jim, Victorio, Trish, Steve B., Steve H., Rich, Lance, Chris F., Crystal, Joan, Margo, Mark, Paul, Michael, Kelly, Alicia, and Allen are just the tip of the iceberg. If I didn’t mention your name, please leave a comment below and hassle me for it. I promise it’s not on purpose.

HRevolution Continue reading

human resource leadershipHuman resources is a vital function for an organization’s survival. With the proper tools, a good HR department can turn sticky problems around, increase revenues, and lead/challenge the organization to become better overall. The only problem?

Many organizations lack strong human resources leadership.

That fault may be intra-organization or intra-department. If the human resources staff has weak leadership, then there’s a good chance that HR within the entire organization is weak as well. If the organization has weak leadership, then there’s a good chance that they won’t give HR a chance to shine. Whatever the case, weakness like that can cripple an organization.

We All Know and Hate It Continue reading

questionsI am always interested in finding out how people learn about me. But sometimes the information or avenue can be a bit… Um, weird? Yeah, that’s about the only way I can put it. Check out these 25 ways people found me via Google. If you’re one of them, I hope you found what you came for. And it looks like a lot of people ended up here looking for zombie info. Maybe you found that, too.

  1. Can You Train a Zombie? I haven’t, but it doesn’t mean you can’t try. Just keep an eye on your brains.
  2. why i didn’t pass the sphr exam Probably because you didn’t have an awesome study resource to help.
  3. passing the gphr I got some search traffic on this one, but I sure as heck don’t know how to pass the GPHR. Anyone out there in the audience GPHR certified?
  4. HR formulas I feel bad for the people who used that one. It takes you to a post with absolutely nothing useful in it. One of my earlier, funnier posts. I keep meaning to go back and fix that, but it slips my mind…
  5. can sphr be passed without experience No, because you have to have experience to take the SPHR. It’s not the same with the PHR, but it will be in 2011.
  6. creativity for hr professionals Creativity is what I have more than enough of. I can’t get that darn brain to shut off. Now if I only had the time to make it useful, things would be wildly different.
  7. recruiting rock Hmmm… Is that a song? A recruiter for rocks? I can’t figure out that one!
  8. 10 reasons why you’re a zombie All of them probably start with “because you were bitten, you idiot.”
  9. computer is dying before upstart is ready Ummm. What?
  10. dude you’re a zombie There’s really no way to break the news to them easy, you know? Continue reading

I am on the cusp of my six month “anniversary” with my current employer, and I got to attend an orientation session earlier this week.

If I had to describe that experience with one word, it would be “amazing.”

Seeing our VPs of HR and Operations go out to meet the new employees, field questions, and provide some background on values and expectations was inspiring for me. As an in-between employee (both in HR and a new employee), they wanted to know my take on the experience. My response was something dripping praise, but it basically boiled down to “keep it up.”

Since I started, I have been tracking our turnover rates. There are some trends that I am interested in observing as this new element to the hiring process begins.

Take it from someone who will tell it to you straight. Do an orientation with new employees. If you want it to be more useful, wait until they\’ve been there for a few weeks (or do it in two parts). That way you can ask about problems/issues before the person begins to feel powerless, and hopefully you can rectify them in some way. It makes a big difference to people when they feel appreciated. I’m walking proof of that.

But whatever you do, just do something. As a semi-new employee, I left the meeting with the desire to do something amazing for my organization. Wouldn\’t you want your employees to want the same thing?

Photo by GIHE.