Ganesh Subramanian writes on how HR has come a long way from being a support function to a strategic function and why it deserves a lot of importance
HR as a function has come a long way from the days of personnel management to being an integral part of any business strategy. As much as this awareness among the business community is pleasing, it is equally depressing to see that still a vast majority of people, be it employees or businesses, view HR as a function that doesn’t deserve respect or importance.
What are the reasons for this incongruent view? The blame is to be equally shared between the practitioners of HR and the working population. In a lot of companies, especially the smaller ones, there is usually a single department that takes care of HR & Administration. What this does is blurs the distinction between HR and admin and for an average employee both of them are one and the same.
A HR is expected to repair a fan or mend a creaking chair in the same vein in which he/she does performance appraisal or recruits an employee. The employees who act as if they are apostles of good behaviour during the interview look down upon the HR. Everything is blamed on the HR, right from miniscule salary increments to lack of holidays to uninteresting work.
On the other side, HR in mediocre companies immerse themselves in sub-functions like recruitment and performance appraisals and strive hard to conform to metrics. They end up doing mundane run-of-the-mill jobs losing sight of important HR functions like career planning, employee engagement, etc.
From a labour function in early days, HR has moved on to be a business partner and then to being viewed as a strategic partner. Good companies have recognised the value of making their people function a part of key decisions. These companies are smart enough to realise that business decisions of the future need to be made keeping in mind the human aspect. The recruitment team in these companies understand the business very well and ensure that the job-person fit is tailor-made.
It is a well known fact that most of the CEOs have their hands full dealing with people issues in their career. As one goes up the corporate ladder, a business problem always manifests itself as a people related issue. It is obvious that managing people is the most challenging task that companies and specifically HR have to grapple with. A same marketing strategy can make 100 products successful and standard revenue targets can make years of annual reports appear better, but no one solution can work when it comes to dealing with people as each human is different.
Let us start recognising HR as an important part of a company wheel and give it and the people who are involved in it their due respect.
- The Recruitment Conundrum: Talent Crunch vs Unspotted Talent (missionsharingknowledge.wordpress.com)
- Bargaining Strategies: Secrets to a Successful Performance Appraisal (joldenburg.wordpress.com)
- Your Least Engaged Employees Might Be Your Top Performers (blogs.hbr.org)