HR folks just don’t get it and it’s getting old! This blog has the HR world talking!


I have recently been speaking to CEO’s and this is what they want! (And it’s rare that they get it).

  1. HR folks who understand the business.
  2. HR folks who understand what the needs of their customers really are.
  3. HR folks who have run parts of business and therefore have credibility when giving advice to line managers.
  4. HR folks who “feel” the economics of their business environment and act and think like a CEO.
  5. HR folks who are not all about policies and procedures and are aboutdeveloping a motivational culture and inclusiveness.
  6. HR folks who know how to develop and grow a business.
  7. HR Folks who know it’s about business, marketplace, community and product/service strategy. (Internal and external factors).

So it’s not about focusing on administration or benefits or hiring the right people!

These are givens, part of our toolkit. It’s like saying to a CFO “lets balance the books.”!!

HR is about creating, developing and implementing business solutions that increase bottom line profitability AND sustained performance.

Its getting old! We need to understand that we are Business first and Business last, that way we really are taking care of our employees and not always concentrating on cost reductions.

So lets stop talking about being business partners and start thinking business.

Understand that growing a business also grows the people.

Oh, and finally if HR doesn’t get it don’t expect anyone else!

“From small acorns do great Oak trees grow” Old saying

Picture of English Oak tree photo by John Elliott – Trees in an English Landscape


Views: 195

Comment by Paul Alfred on November 27, 2010 at 8:02am
Peter I am not sure what CEO`s you`re talking to but I have to agree with Valentino HR comprises of many facets from Benefits, Compensation, ethics, Labor Law to Staffing - and no Large companies still bring all of those facets under one roof Human Resources- If Human Resources is not a Business Partner to the Business how else do you propose they function.

You have describe a very simplistic view of HR ... Which is so much more Complex atleast in the World of the Fortune 1000 ...
Comment by Peter Lanc on November 27, 2010 at 8:35am
Thanks Paul, I spoke a number of CEO's and VPs of HR many tell the same sordid story. HR is an administration function that is mainly there to hire and fire and keep the business out of trouble! Yuk its like saying a CFO is there to balance the books..... Do not overcomplicate what we should be doing! Its simple we are there to develop the business and make it profitable. The split is more than what you say! There are new functions separate from HR which used to be under HR. Ask why that is, its because of the lame work of many HR departments. Its great to get your comments much appreciated.
Comment by Barbara Goldman on December 1, 2010 at 10:40am
Interesting post. In my experience, the HR execs get it. The problem is the rank and file 'recruiters' and 'HR managers" who are clueless.

Not just clueless, but many are dangerous, and know nothing about business. But, the Exec, who should know better, doesn't monitor, doesn't know what is going on.

I routinely talk to HR Grand Directors who can't read a contingency contract. I also have unpleasant experiences with corporate recruiters who know it all, and are so stupid when it comes to candidate psychology that anyone interviewing is insulted during the process.

I've had these same geniuses tell me that my candidates were thrown in the trash, and not by mistake.

HR has grown and multiplied over the years. Just how many middlemen are needed to schedule interviews, screen candidates, pass along submitted resumes, talk to the hiring authority, etc etc etc? I say one, and we are it.

I am the middleman. I am the person who will make a living by making the placement.

HR is so much more than recruiting. HR is about benefits, training, etc, etc, etc. Recruiting, which on the surface looks like an HR function, is different, and should not be part of HR. Recruiting and HR are like oil and water.

Recruiters recruit and attract talent, HR screens them out. Two radically opposite agendas.
Comment by Peter Lanc on December 1, 2010 at 11:35am
Thanks Barbara, for your thoughts! I wonder though why such a “distance in thought strategy” between the HR Exec and their own team? I agree also with the plethora of departments.
I have come across recruiters too who don’t understand the real strategic role of HR and when they are looking for HR leaders they are blind to old mental models. I could go on – in short they follow rote what their client says they need rather than what their business really needs.

I say that if there is such disconcert within HR, I make my point again, they are their own worst enemies.

Interesting last sentence. Something wrong when that happens. I go to the root cause HR!
Comment by Martin H.Snyder on December 2, 2010 at 12:41am
HR should go away. Recruiting should go to marketing and operations, benefits and payroll to accounting, and learning, succession, comp, and development to the CEO's portfolio, where it belongs. Legal should handle policy and dicipline. IT should handle analytics and integrations.

The old "personnel department' model is utterly useless in a contracted virtual world, which is obviously where things are going.
Comment by Martin H.Snyder on December 2, 2010 at 12:43am
"Recruiters recruit and attract talent, HR screens them out. Two radically opposite agendas" is a strong insight. I prefer to think of it as a market view and a qualifications view - which outlook do you think will give more accurate signals as to the real value of a candidate or opportunity ?
Comment by Peter Lanc on December 2, 2010 at 6:59am
Thanks Martin I would agree if HR continues the way it is going. After, what 25plus years there us still the same discussion about what it is all about. However when the "people cost" is so high in an organization it needs a strategic focus and HR should do that similar to other disciplines. It's the way that it happens that is as issue. Keeping it "simple and about developing the business for outstanding performance is at the heart. All other "people issues" now need to focus on that. Splitting everything out would not work. Thanks for comments I like the thoughts.
Comment by Boris Stefanovic on December 2, 2010 at 3:06pm
Pity the misunderstood CEOs, all they want is for HR to see the big picture!

Perhaps the place to lay blame for the shortcomings of HR as a recruiting function is at the feet of Management Consulting and, in turn, the CEOs who anointed them. A generation ago companies were structured in departments with defined responsibilities but an overarching vision toward the success of the organization. Organizational success was the sum sufficient to deduce that the parts were effective. The C-level, however, is naturally motivated (and compensated) by profitability and, faced with a finite pre-global marketplace, they increasingly turned their attention inwards.

The introduction of management theory that broke organizations into business units, which then fell into the categories of "Cost Center" or "Profit Center", put HR and a number of other departments (I'm looking at you, I.T.) on the wrong side of the balance sheet. In response to this and a reflexive survival instinct, it has become increasingly necessary for Cost Centers to quantify their contribution to the enterprise which, in turn, has led to the focus on reporting and begets a militancy in adhering to process. Cost centers that failed to adequately quantitatively demonstrate their ongoing value were summarily outsourced.

We mustn't forget it's HR who retrenches when they recruit/evaluate/select HR... are they going to hire someone who espouses goals and methods that could threaten their next batch of quarterly numbers? The larger picture of organizational effectiveness has been supplanted by short-sighted survival tactics. This might be a successful mindset for generating efficiencies in the warehouse but it's anathema to the entire concept of Human Resources, where quantity is arguably inversely proportional to quality.

While I agree with Barbara on the subject of HR Execs understanding the role of HR's recruiting functions in the larger business context, they are in an untenable position: they need to push back on the evaluation model imposed at the top level while simultaneously providing more oversight to the work being done under their aegis.

If the investment can be made at the executive level to better align existing and incoming HR and recruiting staff with organizational goals and free them from the tyranny of reporting I believe most of the OP's observations will be addressed.

Until then it's just so many crocodile tears.
Comment by Peter Lanc on December 2, 2010 at 3:19pm
Thanks Boris. Is it not true without the "big picture" or vision we do not know what road to travel and how to navigate?
I wholeheartedly agree that there has been too much emphasis on process (which will not work without clear cultural support and understanding). I guess my thinking is cut to the chase. Business is simple. It's about inputs and outputs and we need to make as much money as possible through creative juices and intrinsic motivation of the people who work there. Models come and go, theories come and go. People are people and once we know how to connect with them and their needs and align with the business, hey presto we are running a successful business with people who want to work there. Evaluation. Well that’s another blog (see my website) and you will get what I think there. Great thoughts - regards.

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