The Much Maligned HR Function

One of the joys of working for myself has been that my clients are primarily the business owners .. And there seems to be something about putting your hand in your own pocket to pay for help that makes for a more considered brief upfront, more energy invested in the process and commitment to a sustainable outcome.   So, I’ve been working outside of HR land for a little while..

So what a delight it has been of recent weeks to be working with an organisation that have a super smart HR function.  The HR Manager KNOWS the business; REALLY knows the business- not just that she’s able to quote the odd fact here and there. When questions have been asked about the people function, she’s there with the answers – but of more interest, she’s asking the questions of her operational colleagues – how will this impact on x,y and z.. And not just the people impact, but the business and strategic impact. She knows the team members, she knows the personalities and the best way to manage them, she knows the business imperatives and cleverly works to get the team there in the most efficient way (or the least painful at least!).  I’ve written about being a great business partner before and what an incompetent HR function looks like, and what the business’s view of HR is.

From my perspective as a consultant, the HR function is often defensive to outside help – so it’s a fresh of breath air to work with a function that seems to value external expertise as an addition to their expertise, rather than as diminution of their role within the business.

HR regularly takes a battering, much of it well deserved; so it’s been great to work with a team who respect and value HR. The proof of the pudding will always be in the eating – but so far, so good – it seems that faith and respect is well placed, as the HR function puts run after run on the board.

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