Accounting for HR

first_img Comments are closed. HRpractitioners need to start asking themselves how HR can effectively contributeto the business. Is HR really adding value? asks Denis W Barnard Ihave often wondered why it is that if HR needs to account for its existence,senior company officials continue to appoint HR staff in the first place? Inmany cases each organisation seems to have its own flimsy agenda for this, withspecifications ranging from company scapegoats, welfare workers, corporate axemen and backstops for feeble management.Now,after decades of trying to justify their own existence, HR practitioners shouldbe asking themselves the big questions: what are the key areas where HR caneffectively contribute to business; should HR be represented at board level –and why? Atthe heart of any responsible business there has to be an infrastructure ofcontracts and policies that have a facility for rapid updating on a continuingbasis. Apart from the compliance and clarity that these provide, there is alsothe increasingly important issue of risk containment, given the escalatingscale of remedies for cases of failure by an employer. Anymanager of any function neglects this aspect at their peril, because one lostcase can spawn a raft of like actions. To add to these core necessities shouldbe a compensation and benefits system that works for company and employeesalike, and a serviceable information system for management reporting. Second,it is essential to have a plan and operable procedure to develop the people youhave, and future ones – unless you are in a business that can afford to losestaff and replace them at no cost. Most managers want stable departments withstaff who have been around so long they can do the job blindfolded. Whatthey don’t understand is that they are not maximising the talents of thosepeople who have them and want to move on, and are losing the opportunity tointroduce new blood in the entry-level jobs. Third,an honest appraisal system coupled with a realistic development programme isneeded, realising that there will not always be room for everyone further downthe line, certainly not for those who don’t make the grade. The desired resultwill be better people moving through, up – and on occasion out – of theorganisation in a way that benefits both sides by trading performance and inputfor development, experience, reward and continued employability.Anycompany “touched” by a meaningful HR presence should be left with thelegacy of an environment of challenge and examination. Goodways of achieving this are deploying facilitation skills to assist businessteams to brainstorm new ideas or problem solving; hooking them on staff surveysto take the temperature at regular intervals (and doing something about itwhere necessary); making them analyse exit interviews to see where they arefailing and, crucially, get colleagues at all levels to stop thinking likeemployees but more like individual business people. Everyone should askthemselves “if this were my company/money, would I really do this?”Thelinks between HR and recruitment have been unravelling for some time, and maybein the near future they will effectively die altogether. In many cases, theonly expertise HR has to offer on this is selecting the medium in which toadvertise and schedule in the interviews. By all means design the bestprocesses for successful sourcing and selection, transfer the skills to theirrightful owners – the line managers – and then let it go.Imaintain that HR people can initiate the above three strategies but only untilthey are rolling satisfactorily. After implementation, the necessary skillstransfers should be effected and then it is time to move on, not start buildingbusiness empires and polishing your alloy wheels. An outsourced provider can doany or all of these aspects, and certainly after that the ongoing strategy andapplication can be purchased off-the-shelf from one.Incase anyone reading this is wondering why I haven’t mentioned aligning HR tothe business plan, I should say that many companies don’t have a business plan.Some have one but keep it secret, and others have one but having formulated it,seem to forget it exists. If you have access to one that genuinely seems todrive the organisation, the job will be made easier. The three actions outlinedabove are common for any business to succeed. Asfor HR representation on the board, I’ve yet to hear a really sound andsustainable business reason for this. To flip the matter over, I read recentlyone of the downsides of outsourcing is that it minimises the chance of HRpeople becoming directors! Perhapswe should consider: what are the areas of HR operational expertise that areeither non-transferable or unavailable elsewhere that can justify the cost of aboard director year after year? It’s a time for HR professionals to take areality check on what they are doing, how long they’ve been doing it, and ifthey can make a case for their existence in the form that they recognise it.DenisW Barnard is CFO and a founding director of hrmeansbusiness ltd. Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos. Accounting for HROn 1 Dec 2001 in Personnel Todaylast_img read more