Sometimes the only thing worse than having an HR department is not having one.
With a sudden boom in the HR software industry it has become a lot easier to automate or outsource people related processes such as attendance, payroll and benefits.
So the big question is Can We Do Away with the HR Department and can the managers take up the HR role in the organization?
This article on the Wall Street Journal caught my attention and I thought of asking you and what is your take on the subject. Another thread on LinkedIn which takes a dig on this subject is a perfect read.
In 2012, U.S. employers had a median of 1.54 HR professionals for every 100 employees, up slightly from a low of 1.24 in the recession year of 2009, according to the Society for Human Resource Management. They earn a median annualized wage of about $51,000, government statistics show.
Think of the financial and strategic risks when you consider eliminating certain portions from the HR Department.
If we study the trends of last 5-12 years, many transactional jobs such as payroll, attendance management, recruitment, on boarding and benefits are already being outsourced by companies. Sometimes it does makes sense when you can have an outsourced expert who can do these jobs faster, better and cheaper, isn’t it?
As of now we see that HR has a core role to play in any organization, but how do we justify the existence of this role in the longer run?
Can non-HR Managers be trained to make HR related decisions pertaining to employees?
Can they keep pace with the ever changing legal and statutory laws? Or can we outsource them as well?
Some companies are planning to decide on doing away with the HR departments. Will this trend grow in the coming times?
Let me hear what you think in the comments section below.
Yesterday, I read the Times Ascent which carried this interesting cover story on HR professionals “HR Slow and Steady“
The article talks about whether the HR can CATCH UP with the current dynamic environment or not.
Moreover, even if it is able to set pace with it, is it still heading in the RIGHT direction. Do check out the article.
Just building on where Ninad left in his article, I thought of throwing some light on the different roles and responsibilities that an HR has to undertake to prove his existence within the organization.
Here are my thoughts ….
Apart from his role as a custodian of the HR function, one needs to regularly change “HATS” as per the situation at hand. These skills are not difficult to learn but then everything takes its own time and efforts for imbibing. Let us see what are the different roles that an HR professional plays in this competitive work environment.
HR as a Business Head
The HR professional need to catch up to the pace with which his CEO is running today. He should think like a Business Head and his decisions must be in line the current needs of the business and the changing global environment. He should continuously keep himself updated on the changing trends in the market. He should also have good resources to tap into the growing market intelligence.
HR as a Finance Person
Cost reduction becomes one of the key challenge in this growing competitive environment. An HR professional has to continuously innovate so as to stay competitive and efficient. He is asked to cut costs wherever possible and in his quest to cut cost he is asked not to compromise on the deliverables. Knowledge of the financial aspects does help in understanding the key business metrics.
HR as a Marketing Person
All HR managers should have good selling skills. He should know how to sell his organization to the people whom he wants to recruit. He should know how to brand his company in the external market. HR manager is the brand ambassador of the organization.
HR as a Strategic Planner
Apart from thinking in the present, an HR professional must devise apt strategies for the future. These strategies will help him in setting a road map for his department and for his people. The market is changing drastically and hence to keep pace with it one must know “what” and “when” to change.
HR as Effective Negotiator
An HR must have good negotiation skills. He should be able to crack a deal which is beneficial for his company and people. Negotiations are not restricted only externally but internally many times the HR has to negotiate with the top management and his internal employees for betterment.
HR as a Motivational Guru
He has to continuously ensure that his employees are engaged and motivated. He needs to make sure that the aspirations of the young talent is taken care of. He needs to regularly plan engagement activities for his people. He should ensure that people are rewarded and recognised from time to time.
Apart from the roles I just shared with you, do you think the HR needs to showcase some other skills as well.
Were you in a similar situation in the past where you wore different hats at workplace? Will you like to share your story with us for others to learn?
Must have been in this situation, RIGHT?
And I’m pretty sure most of us has struggled with this at some or the other point in their Corporate Life.
When I started my career in business development and not in hard-core HR, we used get into discussions with our own HR manager over policy or procedural matters.
That time we use to feel as if our HR won’t listen to us. He won’t support us.
He comes with his own baggage and old mindset that can’t be changed easily.
One of the lessons that I learnt from such a situation was “how to put your point” in front of your HR Manager.
So, the question is:
What did I do in such a situation?
How did I went to deal with HR people who didn’t support me?
What is the WRONG and the RIGHT way to handle such a situation?
Here is the answer….
Let me tell you the WRONG thing. Something you should never do.
“You HR managers always talk about following policies and rules, when you aren’t clear about them yourself. You work only for the management and there is no interest of the employees. You should change your mindset.”
Must have guessed by now, YES, this process didn’t worked because as you start arguing with your HR, you are giving birth to a lot assumptions in his mind.
We were like on a battlefield where none of us will budge. I wasted a lot of time and energy on such arguments which were not required, until I found a more diplomatic way of handling such situations.
The RIGHT way…
When my HR didn’t wanted to support me, I use to tell him….
“In a way you are right, however for my development and in view of the organizational benefit, let me try this new idea before undergoing or making any major cost, so that in future I don’t want to regret of not trying”
And this made them think that there must be a genuine concern or his idea can help the organization and other employees as well.
The worst thing in such a scenario is to ARGUE. Rather, stay calm and put across your views or points in front of them. I understand many in HR still come from the old school of thought and they consider their point right every time. However, time is changing and they will soon realise that they need to mend their old ways of dealing with employees.
Acknowledging their point that “you’re right” but you want their support for your “development” and “organizational benefit” so that in future you do not “regret” of trying, will definitely add substance to your discussion.
Patience, perseverance and silence helps in handling “crucial” conversations. I am not saying that the HR is always right. But sometimes getting their support is tough in situations where a lot of people or cost is involved.
So now tell me a time when your HR Manager didn’t supported you.
What did you do? How did you deal with such a situation?
Everyone has their own ways of handling such situations and we may help others by sharing our experiences on this blog.
So, leave a comment now. I’m waiting to hear your story.
And not just ANY HR Manager.
I’m talking about becoming an HR Manager who is loved by his people and the management.
You see, while many “HR gurus” trick you into thinking that you need to have a thorough knowledge on the policies and procedures…
…I’ve always tried to be real with you.
The secret to becoming a good HR Manager with a raving people base that’s ready to listen to what you have to say has nothing to do with how much KNOWLEDGE you have.
It, instead, has to do with how good your ATTITUDE is with the people in your organization.
Sound hard to believe? But yes its the truth.
Bear with me for a second, and keep reading along.
If you spend time with people and listen to what they have to share, chances are that they will appreciate and respect you.
Why, then, would you spend more time in reading and enhancing knowledge when you already can build their trust by investing more time with them?
I’ve got an idea… Because one likes to be informed and upto date with what’s happening in the industry, you can create a balance for yourself by prioritizing your time and efforts
Here’s the truth:
It’s easier and smarter to be engaged in knowledge building but its even difficult and harder to build trust of people.
Or, in other words, invest 20% of your time in upgrading yourself. Spend the other 80% of the time in collaborating with people.
If you’re like me, you truly CARE about your people.
Now, I’ve heard some people say, “Amit doesn’t care about his people.” That can’t be further from the truth.
To know about just one employee in your organization, you need to invest your time and energy in knowing about him, his family, his interests, his capabilities and what does he wants to achieve in life. In the end, it all boils down to one thing, TIME that you spent in knowing him better.
And you BET that for us, as HR Managers, Time is a critical factor and plays a major role. We are into so many things, recruitment, trainings, organizational development, performance management, that thinking of sparing out time for people, may seem next to impossible.
But then at the end of the day, it’s all about how well you know your organization and your people. So, its worth an investment to make.
So, in order to become a Good HR Manager building up relationships is VITAL. And it’s the only REAL way to stand out in today’s competitive environment.
That’s why it all depends on how you nurture the relationships, leverage your bonding to make sure your genuinity spreads, and then people will listen to what you have to say.
You might be thinking, “Well, why does everyone else say you need to have knowledge to be successful?”
Many of the people who preach “knowledge, knowledge, then more knowledge,” come from a mind set where they considered HR can be restricted to only I.R. (Industrial Relations) or a personnel function. This I am talking of way back in the 90s.
At that point, managing employees and their expectations from the management was a tough thing to look after and one needs to have a thorough knowledge on the laws of the land and what was happening in the industry as a whole.
(In some respects, they still do the same).
And they LOVE to remain that ways.
This means that, back then, if you’re updated and have immense knowledge, it was IMPOSSIBLE to NOT earn a good reputation in the eyes of the management.
But times have changed.
In 1990 – 2000, the HR role was only pertaining to day to day affairs. I.R. took maximum of the time.
But, over the last say 5-7 years, the entire scenario has changed on account of globalization.
Point #1: HR has taken up a more strategic and decision making role.
Point #2: HR has been able to get rid of the “personnel management” tag and has build a reputation of its own.
Now, you just can’t feel happy on the amount of knowledge you have.
You’ve got to have an EQUATION with your employees and use it in the best interest of your people and the organization.
Yes, I know this is harder, and it’s more time consuming, but the good news is this: You just need a Positive Attitude and things will work in your favour.
I look at my blog YoungHRManager, and can see the change that people want. There are so many interesting and thought provoking comments that people share on my blog. I hear so many inspiring stories from my subscribers and people.
All because I focused on building a good attitude and behaviour… and then focused on getting my knowledge work in the direction of the betterment of my people.
That’s the BIG question:
“Okay, I get it. Build a good attitude, then use your knowledge in that direction. But how?”
That’s where my blog comes in.
I reveal many of my favorite principles, thoughts and powerful strategies that will help you become a good HR Manager and above all a better human being.
But here’s what I’m going to do…
I’m a firm believer in doing things “in a logical and systematic way”
So, what I’m going to do is this:
In the coming weeks, I will be blogging on topics which will benefit you in doing justice to your role as an HR Manager.
Some good strategies that you can use, and a strategy I still use to this very day.
(What’s so great about some of these HR strategies is that they’re timeless. These have worked in the past and often work now and will work in the future).
And in the mean time, what I’d like you to do is to leave a comment letting me know about the problems you’re facing in your current job or function.
What’s been holding you back from adhering to your duties? What’s stopping you from becoming a good manager and a leader?
Also, to ensure you don’t miss out on any of my articles, make sure you sign up for my newsletter (sign up box in the sidebar)
(If you’re already on it, and know someone who can benefit from my learnings, tell them to hop on the list). Share this post with your colleagues and friends.
Just completed one and a half day session on “CBI“. Don’t worry. It’s nothing to do with the “Central Bureau of Investigation“. The session was on “Competency Based Interviewing” by none other than Rajagopalan Sreekumar, corporate trainer turned a good friend now. I remember my first interaction with him while he was conducting a session on ” Interpersonal Relationship Building” and since then it’s always been a great learning experience with Sree as he does not follow the normal route of training. While conducting his sessions, he acts like a professional diver who will help you explore the deepest part of the ocean and then come back satisfied realising that you had a successful voyage. He would share lots of quotes and life examples to build on the concepts and after the end of his session, you will have a list of good books to refer in future. It’s just amazing to see how he can remember so many books with the names of the authors as well. Hats off to your brilliant memory.
Coming back to the learning session on “Competency Based Interviewing“, compiling a one and a half day session is next to impossible in a 500 words blog post. However, I will still try to touch upon some key aspects that hold importance while you conduct a competency based interview with people.
Read this awesome prelude by Patrick Mullarkey at his Mentoring blog who is hosting the next HR carnival. Looking at his high spirits, I must say its going to be bigger and better this time. I read the cover story ” The CEO Path” published in the last month edition of the famous HR magazine called “People Matters“. I thought it would be an interesting & a good career advice for us. The story revolves around a survey conducted to know whether HR would be keen take up a business role in future. Surprisingly, out of the total 71 respondents, only half of them had a desire to aim for the Top Job.
What can be the reason for such a response?
Does the HR scared to take up the TOP role in an organization? OR
Does the HR fully equipped to carry out the responsibility at such a senior level?
What knowledge (apart from people management) will help in the transition to the TOP Job?
The cover story had thoughts shared by eminent HR leaders and what attribute they think an HR person need to have so as to graduate to the top position. I present to you my summary of the thoughts that I liked on what it takes for a HR Head to become the Top Executive in an organization?
I am thankful for the valuable insights that were shared by people who themselves have risen to the top position. However, there are some inherent qualities which an HR professional already possess which helps in building a good leader for the TOP job. So…
Do you aspire to take up a senior role in your organization?
Do you think your current knowledge and exposure will help you climb up the ladder?
Is the HR BRAVE enough to take up this challenge?