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Why HR Fails

HR fails, but it can succeed

Sorry…. I had to… I can’t help it, but yes… another post about HR and why it fails..

You see, I believe that the issues facing the H.R. profession today are numerous or at least seem to be more visible.  One indicator of this is that if ten human resource practitioners were asked what they believe are the top issues facing their profession, it is very likely that we will receive ten different answers. Although not statistically valid (not a scientific poll), I asked five professionals who identify themselves as H.R. practitioners what they believed to be the top issues, and the answers ranged from a lack of education about the field, to bad top management, to a lack of a body/book of knowledge. However, a common theme existed in those professionals’ answers. The theme is that H.R. professionals do not receive the support or respect that they need to perform their duties or be successful in the workplace and are removed from the decision-making process.

In remembering previous conversations with other HR professionals about the same subject, I found that this is a very common theme in our profession and felt that since this was a very common answer that it can be considered a top issue.

Let’s omit a discussion of all the top issues (yep.. I said that) and discuss this very important singular issue, since it holds a common perspective among H.R. professionals.

Most professionals in this field (from my personal and professional experience) have a sense of not being listened to, being excluded from strategy meetings and sessions and serving a small and mundane role in the overall operations of the vast majority of corporate America.  The feeling stems from exactly that—being excluded from the real decision-making and being looked on as a “support” function and not a main and strategic business operation.

Regardless of the extent to which this occurs, from my experience, it seems that there are many HR practitioners who feel left out of the decision-making process, and the strategic direction of their organization. Generally, they only receive operations support requests from senior leadership.

But, the root cause is the actual issue facing the profession; the general rejection of HR as a strategic business partner is a symptom of HR’s own failure to be strategic.

HR professionals today are unable to provide recommendations that align with the organization’s mission and business objectives. This enforces the support role that they are given by senior leadership and creates a never-ending cycle of animosity between HR and other corporate functions.

There could be many reasons behind the inability to think strategically and be strategic but I believe that our inability to relate important human capital initiatives to the actual mission of the organization through the use of actual data and taking a consultative approach in doing so is the root issue.

I believe that HR professionals do not implement a successful approach in solving organizational issues. In order to be included in the organizational decision process we must prove that HR can be a strategic function by aligning our initiatives to overall business objectives, using data to support our programs, showing the relationships between our initiatives and the bottom line, taking a consultative approach and selling our ideas.

To think strategically can ultimately be considered as our final objective.

About The Author
Joseph A.E. Shaheen
Computational Social Scientist. Former Consultant. Current Phd Student. Editor of the Human Talent Network community blog. I fought ISIS/ISIL/Daesh in my own way. Livin' life in Washington, DC
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