HR-Let’s see some value

AKA Other people think human resources has zero value

I find neat resources now and again in my web travels (like the Netflix presentation on culture and responsibility), and the one I’m talking about today is fantastic. Most of you have probably heard about the 2005 article “Why We Hate HR” in Fast Company where the author bashes the human resources profession for a number of faults.

Well, there’s a great PDF guide I found somewhere (can’t remember where! I’ve had it downloaded for almost half a year) that is a teacher’s guide to combat the points in the article. I really enjoyed looking it over, and I bet you will find it useful as well. Here’s the link to download the PDF. I have covered some of the interesting points and quotes from the article below. The questions at the end get my blood pumping. Are you the same way? :-)

Chicken or the egg?

It is unclear what came first, the marginalization of HR by senior management or the stagnation of the skills of HR professionals. Certainly, if all senior management wants is someone to plan the company picnic and keep morale up, HR professionals would not be to blame as there is no motivation to improve their skills and attempt to have a strategic role in the company.

School isn’t helping

The work of Mark Huselid and John Delery, among others, regularly focuses on how HR practices can have an important impact on an organization\’s bottom line. The metrics exist; they are just not being incorporated into academic programs and professional continuing education certification and reading. A greater connection must be made between academic researchers and the professionals who actually practice these skills every day.

We all could use some Dilbert

In the immortal words of Alice of Dilbert fame (Scott Adams, United Feature Syndicates, Inc. 1996), who has just met a newly minted MBA who has no people skills but yet is highly skilled in finance, accounting and economics, “So, you\’re a highly qualified leader because…you\’re good at math?”

Asking the hard questions

There are some great discussion questions tacked on at the end of the guide, and I think they are worth talking about even if we ignored the rest of the article.

  • Top management does not understand what value HR departments can play in their organizations. How do we convince them?
  • What key changes would you make to HR education to ensure graduates have the appropriate knowledge, skills and abilities (KSAs) to link HR practices to business strategy?
  • How does the gender makeup of HR professionals help or hinder the perceptions of the effectiveness of the HR function?
  • What recommendations can you make to protect the company assets and minimize litigation while still allowing for individual differences and exceptions to the rule when managing diverse employees in your workplace?

Anyone have thoughts to share? Surely I’m not the only one who’s interested in this stuff. :-)

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