Limited understanding and appreciation of business environment, technology and developments in the industry. For example – many HR professionals and some HR Heads may not be able to reason for or against the integration of social media & employee communication process. Not many HR heads would be able to discuss if their business needs a well defined Talent Management framework or their existing approach of performance assessment based decision can help with their talent agenda.
Acting in isolation, “initiatives by the HR based on HR’s perspectives”: HR need not work in isolation – the focus should never be only on “initiatives” and “best practices” – it must be on – “initiatives and best practices that can add value to the business”. There has to be a “business case” and reason for every decision, every intervention.
Not many HR Professionals have a numbers orientation – this ideally hits on their ability to see numbers, performance metrics , financial metrics in all the data floating around. Most of the focus seems to be actions that gets visibility and mileage through – “feel good” and “appear good” factors. That’s what most employees have started expecting from the HR. May be that’s one reason why business teams don’t have much good things to say for their HR colleagues. It seems HR is still about food, cafeteria, and birthday parties for most companies.
A Consultative mindset – business is about problem solving – a general problem however is that business executives don’t want to get into a solutions approach to crack internal issues. Most of the time the thought is – “lets just do this for the sake of doing it”. The same applies for most HR professionals. For example: Do you really think and reason out if your company needs a job evaluation process, a performance management system etc. ? Do you think & deliberate on organizational impact of any intervention, and how people may react to changes in process etc. ? Do you think of a “need” – and validate the same before mandating an intervention or an initiative to address the same.
Example: I had come across a very simple example of misplaced priorities – HR in an Health care company was very much aggressive on the need to train their front line staff on “Communication Skills”. They were advised to check the “need” based on problems being faced and business issues. While they were adamant on their understanding that training on – “Communication Skills” was the solution – at a later stage it was discovered that the key issue and thereby development area was – “Lack of Customer Sensitivity & Service Orientation”, communication was a small part of the whole story. For any such misplaced assumptions there is definitely a cost implication for the business.
Some questions for you – if you are an HR professional or in some kind of HR leadership role:
- How many times have your tried to reason out and substantiate the need for a employee engagement survey ?
- You love to mandate employee engagement survey’s , why do you miss out on action planning based on the survey results ?
- Do you also ask questions like – What’s the best process for performance management & what’s the best format for KRA setting ? What do you think can be the answer ?
PS: This article and the thoughts reflected implies on the HR professionals in general – since we gauge that most are yet to evolve with a business & numbers mindset. We however appreciate that the HR leadership in many top corporates, and some mid size companies have been demonstrating enough business acumen to make it to general management roles in business.