The power is in the team, so you’d expect HR to be one of the most important functions in any business, of whatever size but this is often not the case, HR is seen as an overhead, a cost, something to be minimised. And besides how do you see the value of the HR? Human Resources, not a very snappy name. Perhaps, “Staff Superstars” or “Culture Creators” or “Brand Boss” would be a better name. HR can get overlooked because it’s not new or trendy, it’s not tech or a new idea.
To be successful companies know they need to be proactive, agile, nimble, looking ahead, forward thinking, anticipating and continuously improving. Thinking about HR is like having to stop and check to see if you’ve polished your shoes this morning; it’s a bit samey, a bit dull and can get forgotten.
But it matters, a lot.
HR is valuable
To understand the value of HR is to consider what happens when there is poor or no HR in a company. Poor recruitment is toxic to a business. One bad apple, a negative person or someone who does not fit the culture will create a less functional team. Inappropriate comments are reciprocated, walls go up, information and ideas stop being shared.
We can all see that a high performing business needs a high performing team, a high performing team needs high performing staff, high performing staff need .. recruiting. Then they need support, training, coaching, mentoring, encouragement, autonomy, trust, respect .. the list can go on. And who is going to provide this? Everybody is very busy, they have their own jobs to do, managers and leaders need to manage and lead. Just when HR is needed most, HR is forgotten. HR can be there at these difficult times to help maintain service continuity, support the company’s competitive advantage and take a strategic role beyond recruitment.
The quality of the leadership, the culture and the skills within an organisation determines how profitable a business will be. HR is key to the effectiveness of these areas. A successful business implements its competitive advantage more effectively than its competitors, and who is going to implement this competitive advantage? Not the tooth fairy and perhaps not even HR, but HR should be involved in ensuring the right traits, personality types and skills have been recruited, that the staff members involved are properly motivated and managed. The functional managers and line managers will be setting goals, assessing performance, and may be too busy to see an over worked or demotivated employee or employees.
5 ways HR can help boost business productivity
Some activities HR can do to ensure productivity is maximised:
- Ensure the best talent is recruited
- Work closely with the functional manager to identify poor performers early
- Align their efforts with company’s competitive advantage
- Ensure staff are highly motivated and trained
- Weed out anybody who is upsetting or damaging the culture.
I attended an IOD meeting recently and spoke with Sam Lambert of Perfect Administration. In discussing this with Sam I learnt she has a lot of experience in HR so I was interested to hear her views and include them here. She also very kindly forwarded a report from Oracle on HR Trends in 2018.
According to the Oracle report companies need to find the right balance between engagement and productivity, to hire for competence not just confidence and think beyond social recruiting to ensure the widest possible pool of talent and ideas are recruited. It also said HR needs to engage in a more strategic role not just be in support of the organisation.
As Sam herself says, “HR practices can seem dull and over disciplined, but they are essential to a business’s effectiveness and productivity. If you are strategic and you identify the right HR person for your organisation you can accomplish process efficiencies while engaging with a strategic partner who understands your business, understands your objectives and is able to drive your productivity through an effective hire to retire process of employee engagement – ensuring you have the right people in the right job with the right motivation to support your growth and productivity. Full throttle HR is not about corporate rules and processes, it is a key accelerator in determining how profitable a business can become through maximising the potential of people in an employee lifecycle.”
One final point, HR is perfectly placed to work across the functions strategically with the best interests of the company in mind. Ultimately HR helps a company to increase its focus, motivation and productivity while making it a more interactive, dynamic and satisfying place to work.