If I were to ask you what HR is, and what function they play within a business what would you say? Fun police? Managements puppet? Someone that hires people? That pain in the butt function that you force someone in finance to do? Stunningly beautiful and intelligent individuals? A value adder to the business? Well, how you answered will vary greatly on A) how well you understand the business function; B) the caliber of HR people you’ve interacted with or C) you are my husband answering this with (the very smart response of) stunningly beautiful and intelligent individuals.
First and foremost HR should have a presence in your business as a strategic partner, as someone who can breakdown your business goals into practical and contemporary people and culture initiatives to both build capacity within the business, and to assist with achieving the strategic outcomes of the organisation. Sure, on a base level HR is about protecting the business from unnecessary risk; embedding policies and procedures; ensuring said policies and procedures are followed; provision of industrial relations advice to management; ensuring you dot your i’s and cross your t’s. But beyond the legal aspect, the contribution by HR to your business success can not, and should not, be understated.
Human Resources isn’t a thing we do, it’s a thing that runs our business
The concept that HR is just policies, hiring and firing is a very 90’s business model. As more and more corporations have HR sitting at an executive level, contributing to strategy discussions and being viewed as an integral cog in the leadership machine, the expectations on HR’s contribution to the business have increased exponentially. There is now an expectation that HR policies and initiatives will be well considered, best practice models to guide, develop, motivate and reward employees. Policies built around, and for the sole purpose of legislation will always be a constant. But a great HR professional should be able to dissect your Strategic & Operational Plans and Core Values to build HR initiatives that make your workplace somewhere employees enjoy coming to everyday; to encourage performance and behaviours that build a team that takes ownership and accountability of their actions; that builds a workplace where everyone is heading in the same direction. In short, they help build the workforce demographic that you NEED to achieve your business goals.
Build your people & your people will build your business
A lot of business owners I speak to say they are too small to implement a lot of these types of practices, but in reality, the ethos applies across the board – big or small, it just gets massaged and moulded until it suits your business. A successful business is a successful business, whether it has 10 employees or 1000 employees, if you want to have a successful business you need to think strategically, plan & implement.
The challenge to compete and be successful is a challenge that all businesses, regardless of size, must embrace to remain sustainable within the business environment. For example a big challenge for employers is the ability to attract and retain the right people. A skilled HR professional will tap into the changing labour market that now highly values organisational leadership & reputation, the work environment, support structures and recognition & opportunities, and develop initiatives that address these concerns thus working to reduce turnover and create more engaged employees who behave in ways to support the business and consistently look for ways to create value.
It’s time for HR to move beyond policies, practices and processes, HR’s value proposition to business is to ensure HR professionals and their practices’ produce positive outcomes for key stakeholders, employees, line managers, customers and investors. The People & Culture Office can partner with you to gain a competitive advantage through people & culture initiatives Contact Us to arrange an appointment to discus what solutions we can put in place to drive achievement of your strategic goals.
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