How I Would #MakeHRBetter

I got an email last week from the awesome Steve Browne announcing that he was hosting the first Carnival of HR for 2015.

The Carnival has been around for almost 8 years now. Each week, one HR blogger takes a turn hosting. The host selects a theme and reaches out to other bloggers for either original or recently written posts on the theme … You may remember when I hosted back in February 2014.

Steve is one of my favorite HR people on the planet. He is a constant source of support, encouragement, sharing, positivity and welcome all across the social HR and SHRM space. I admire him greatly. So my response to his requests for posts in his Carnival was three words …

Count. Me. In!!

Steve’s theme? Complete the statement “I would make HR better by …”

So here goes.

I would make HR better by improving the confidence of HR practitioners surrounding the validity, importance and standards of our profession … In my opinion, HR remains the only profession who seems unsure about their very being and their value to and in business. You just don’t see Accounting or IT or Marketing or Operations people questioning if their function is needed and how they help the business reach goals. Yet HR is still having these conversations all the time — and, for the life of me, I cannot understand why.

Well, that’s not true. I kinda do understand why. The issue as I see it is two-fold:

  1. HR is focused on people — and so is everyone else. Every area of the business has people who have managers who have manager who have manager who are responsible for making sure they do right and generally get done right. When a business looks at the HR focus through this narrow lens, HR seems redundant and unnecessary … But just because it looks that way doesn’t make it true — and it definitely doesn’t mean HR should buy into that narrow-minded thinking, too!
  2. HR gets the leftovers. Although the tide is changing, HR has been the place where people without “real” business savvy were plopped. Can’t cut the mustard in Operations? Go to HR! Need a place to put the owner’s daughter? Go to HR! You say you like people and don’t want to be limited by budgets and rigid reporting? Go to HR! And in many organizations, there is still has some of that … So when you add all the fighting and debate about the need for formal and continuing education in the HR profession which leads to people not pushing their learning AND you add all the snake-oil HR salesholes pimping products not based in any business reality, you end up with stale leftovers . Why would anyone want that? Yuck (By the way, this issue of stale HR leftovers existed loooooooong before the HRCI/SHRM break-up.  Way way way before).

When HR doubts itself, the rest of the business world begins to doubt, too. Which leads to our practitioners being under-utilized and under-paid in many organizations and industries. Which leads to good practitioners getting frustrated and either leaving the profession altogether or starting their own businesses. Which leads to more debate about the necessity of HR and whether business is better off without it.

The cycle is vicious. And HR would be better without it.

HR would be better if its practitioners got educated and stayed educated about the history, theory and practical application of the laws behind our areas of influence.

HR would be better if we stopped fighting for recognition and just focused on creating and executing solid strategy to advance the goals of the organization.

HR would be better if we stopped allowing the stale leftovers to be plopped into our department causing bottlenecks, inefficiency and increased risk.

HR would be better if we found our mojo … our swag … our confidence … our voice … our truth.

When HR finds this, business will find it, too. And the world of work will become a better place.

Want to see what the other HR bloggers out there had to say? You can read all the posts HERE at Steve’s blog — or check the #MakeHRbetter hashtag on your social media channels.

 

 


1 Comment

  1. Sarah,
    I echo your thoughts exactly (about Steve and the HR profession). I cannot count how many times I have visited a business to mentor their HR staff only to find out the person in charge has little to no knowledge of the labor laws. Yes, they were a good employee who possessed good clerical skills, but our profession is so much more than that. Today’s HR isn’t like your parent’s old personnel department. We are asked to be the expert on a variety of topics like the law, recruiting, training and development, etc. I believe that today’s HR Professional needs to have a passion for what we do. It’s this passion that will drive them to become certified, attend seminars and conferences, or even go back and continue their formal education. I feel like this is one of my major roles as a District Director for SHRM. I try to assure that the local chapters are offering outstanding programming that are relevant and timely with today’s HR Professional’s needs. I have been fortunate to have had opportunity to meet some of the most passionate HR Professionals over the last several years and the one thing they all have in common is a positive attitude and a love for our profession that is unwavering. Thanks for all you do.

    MC

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