“HR add no value, HR are not commercial, HR create initiatives that make no difference, and I am disappointed in HR; why do we need them”….

I am positive that as HR professionals we have all heard or been on the receiving end of these types of comments from the business; all of which I am sure we listen to and reflect on. What I didn’t expect was to hear these types of comments coming from my fellow HR professionals and contributing to the growing layers of the ‘criticism cake’. This was really hard for me, to hear that our own profession is becoming as cynical about the business of the value of HR.

I am disappointed that businesses haven’t evolved enough to realise the value of people. I am also disappointed in us, as HR professionals and our apparent willingness to accept an outdated view of HR; allow me to explain.

As a HR professional I have spent my career equipping managers to manage effectively, how to get people to deliver high performance/manage poor performance, how to recruit and retain the right people when the business need them and how to grow the business through people; the list goes on. Managers and leaders continue to distrust our recommendations, create complexities where there are none, use politics to support personal agendas which results in HR not being able to do what is best for the business, our people.

Businesses still don’t get that what it takes to operate a business is human intellect; a person. For without people there would be no business, no economy. Furthermore, when HR suggest ideas for ways to develop better relationships, capture engagement and discretionary effort, managers fail to see the benefits; seeing only disruption to making money. The consequence is managers and leaders have failed to accept responsibility for developing authentic adult relationships; choosing rather to criticise HR for not doing a good enough job because its “HR jobs to manage people”….WRONG.

Its managers jobs to manage people, leaders jobs to inspire people and HR’s job to equip both with the tools to have authentic adult relationships with their people, that captures their discretionary effort for both individual and business benefit.

What we do in HR is incredibly invaluable in ensuring the business can operate from product/service to customer to shareholder. As Wikipedia defines it: 'HR is a function in organizations designed to maximize employee performance of an employer's strategic objectives'. We have been around since the beginning of time, from the Ford motor car to now the leading global companies of the world, and very few organisations are able to operate without a strong HR Team made up of enablers, trainers, experts, coaches, facilitators, negotiators, influencers, organisers, great listeners, specialists, managers, leaders and many more roles. We operate in a space very few others do, holding the Company/Leader/Employee confidences and data that remains hidden from view. And finally we ensure the business is able to recruit the right people to do the right role at the right time with the potential to support individual and company growth....how many other roles can say they do so very much.

So as I sign off, I make a final plea to you if you are a business manager or HR person reading this; - we should be proud and if not then we need to ask the business what we need to do to add value to the business. For me, I believe in us, trust us to get on with what we are good at and our ability to continue to grow to support economic and business challenges for the future. And if you have people in your business that are not good at it, talk to your HR Director. For us as HR professionals; I implore you to be proud and to do what you do best every day…give businesses the chance to give and get the best from people every day.

We look and can see great examples of where they do get it including: Menlo run by Richard Sheridan articulated in his book ‘Joy Inc.’ where he and his team have worked hard by recognising people are central to success. This clearly shows it is possible for us to grow, to trust, and to deliver results collectively; surely that’s what we all want?

Strong people who have the ability and potential to perform and grow to deliver future individual and company performance....

Thanks for listening...

Rachel Humpherson is the Founder and MD of SkyeLark HR Consulting, and with nearly 2 decades of experience in people, Rachel is passionate about helping HR to be the best value add team to help organisations create engaged and high performing people, teams and organisations. Rachel has a very diverse background and recently set up SkyeLark HR Consulting Ltd to work with organisations and teams, including HR; in a state of change to help them tap into their potential to create positive high performing individuals and businesses. Rachel is a proud Fellow of the CIPD, holds an MBA in Entrepreneurial Business and is highly qualified in many areas including coaching and mentoring, always seeking opportunities to grow. In her spare time she has a love of being healthy, photography perfectly complimented by her desire for travelling at every opportunity. You can find Rachel @ https://uk.linkedin.com/in/rachelhumpherson.

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