Human Resources Adding Value To the Company – Ask HR Bartender

by Sharlyn Lauby on December 16, 2012

Sometimes being in human resources for a really long time can tarnish our perspective. We forget what it’s like to be starting out in the profession and trying to develop our own unique POV. Today’s reader question is about just that:

I really like reading your blog. People might always tell you, but it is amazing to read all that interesting stuff about HR. It broadened my mind a lot!!!

The reason why I am writing to you today is the following: I´ve recently graduated from college and started a new job in HR. My new boss has asked my opinion of how exactly HR is adding value to the company. I´ve never thought about that before…

What do you think? How does HR support the business strategy? What areas of action need to be altered to deliver value to the company?

I would be really thankful for any suggestions and opinions – so I don’t make myself a complete fool talking to my boss. Maybe you might even write a blog post about it because I feel like many HR people are struggling with this issue…

I do agree with this reader that HR sometimes struggles with defining value. I believe that’s because of the two separate but related hats we wear: One part of us is a member of the management team and responsible for contributing to the goals of the company. The other part of us is considered an employee advocate, making sure that employees feel they have a voice within the organization. For that reason, I’ve always declared HR as a pseudo Switzerland – a neutral territory where both management and employees can work through ideas and challenges together.

That’s where I see the value in the HR function.  It’s about bringing resources together.

hr, human resources, management, leadership, value, company, employee

If HR only spends their time serving employee needs, they miss out on opportunities to learn about the business. And if they only spend time with senior leadership, they can forget what the trenches look like. The human resources function brings value by continuously connecting. When the function is operating effectively, human resources…

  • Connects a hiring manager with a qualified candidate for a position.
  • Introduces a new employee to the organization via an orientation program.
  • Designs an onboarding program that helps managers train new hires.
  • Creates performance management systems for managers and employees to discuss current performance and future development opportunities.

…and the list goes on.

So whether it’s via facilitating a conversation, creating a process or directing an activity, the value of human resources is in guiding and enabling managers and employees.

Now make no mistake, this description might sound really simple and easy. But it’s not. That’s because the needs of the company are changing all the time. And individuals need to change along with it. Companies can’t afford personalized and customized answers for each and every employee. That’s where HR has to understand the dynamic – what resources are available and the business demands of the organization. Then try to balance the two.

The value of human resources is being the great equalizer. The creator of balance. Because when that balance is achieved, companies get the best performance from their employees. And employees are engaged with their work. It’s a win for everyone involved.

Image courtesy of HR Bartender

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Maureen Sharib December 16, 2012 at 6:36 am

“Creating value” can mean contributing to a company’s growth. A company’s growth is one of the main things the C levels are interested in. How might HR accomplish that?

Tanya December 16, 2012 at 3:15 pm

Contributing to growth means understanding the company’s growth strategy, either organic or by acquisition and ensuring that the organisation has the capability to achieve these either through recruiting skills the organisation does nor have or helping to change the culture or behaviours that prevent growth from happening. These can be subtle and unless the HR professional really understands the business they may miss the mark on whet needs to be done.

Mouyad M December 18, 2012 at 12:54 am

“It’s a win for everyone involved”…. nice to say, hard to reach.

Jemma Taylor December 20, 2012 at 8:22 am

I think part of the problem business people have with HR is their measure of success is fundamentally different from the business – and should stay that way.

Siddharth December 21, 2012 at 10:39 am

all about designing measurable interventions for adding direct value through HR to customers of the business.

http://www.HowManyTheBook.com

Sharlyn Lauby December 21, 2012 at 2:46 pm

Thanks for the comments everyone!

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