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Set your sights high

Driving up to a major road junction during rush hour is bad enough but when you’re lost panic can set in as one wrong move and you could potentially be going round a one-way system for eternity! Our sense at CourageousHR is that within the workplace many HR Professionals will do almost anything to ensure they are never lost, are very clear what route they are taking and what to know their end destination. We are even more convinced that for many HR professionals’ they are very uncomfortable with uncertainty and risk taking.

Yet, research after research shows that the world of work is now so unpredictable and volatile that past remedies and old practices are no longer suitable nor adequate to address the new and emerging challenges facing organisations. What is required is a shift in attitude and outlook by HR to recognise that being efficient and effective at the transactional and tactical level is no longer good enough. In other words, HR is at a crossroads – it has a choice; either to wake up and realise that it’s unenviable reputation within most organisations is unsustainable and want do something about it; or to continue to be sidelined by other parts of the organisation as it becomes more constrained by what it’s always done and not what it should do.

Delivering a distinctive contribution

At CourageousHR we contend that HR has a distinctive contribution to make to organisational life. By distinctive contribution we mean being driven by results which deliver value that is uniquely created by HR i.e. without HR it would not have occurred. This happens when;

  • HR has knowledge or skills that are not available anywhere else in the organisation e.g. change management,
  • HR has access to information that is either
    • Not collected elsewhere in the organisation e.g. candidate knowledge of competitor activities, or
    • In not collated (bought together) elsewhere in the organisation e.g. employee talent linked with strategic plans

Therefore, when HR is truly focused on making a distinctive contribution it is being results driven. Below are just a few examples of what a Results Driven HR Function looks like:

  • HR is proactive
  • HR understands the key business drivers, processes etc
  • HR works as a true partner with other managers, each understanding their own and each other’s purpose, roles and objectives
  • HR makes contributions and builds support for its ideas based on what it sees as opportunities and threats, not waiting to be asked
  • HR’s contribution is not restricted to the ‘people’ agenda

However, as research has highlighted, HR has consistently fallen short in showing organisational leaders that it is driven by results rather than words. HR seems to have set its sights low by limiting its agenda to improved efficiencies and increased effectiveness. This is no longer good enough! People are the heart and brains of all organisations and therefore should be treated as resources to nurture and grow rather than commodities to trade and discard. HR has the potential to position itself within organisational life as the ‘people experts’ and through the development of such expertise find ways to actively create organisational value rather than limit itself to merely adding value.

Over the last 20 years, HR has evolved in line with the development of organisations and is now often recognised as a contributor to organisational success. However, HR’s focus has tended to be limited to refining and reconfiguring how it operates (i.e. structure and deliverables) whereas the true organisational need, and therefore opportunity, is for HR to become organisational experts in understanding and applying employee dynamics. Employees can and should be a major source of competitive advantage; who is currently better placed to maximise the return from its employee’s talents than HR?

Therefore, those HR Functions which are truly results driven are those that recognise that it is people that provide the competitive advantage for their organisation and are motivated to work with the business to ensure its HR strategies and solutions are about maximising organisational results. In other words, HR is on the lookout for ways to enhance organisational performance through people and provide HR solutions which are led by the business need and informed by ‘best-practice’ HR.

At an individual level, HR Professionals who are excellent at driving through results tend to demonstrate awareness of the main organisational drivers and actively shape and re-shape their HR offering around these drivers. They find effective and innovative ways of working closely with their leadership team, understanding their immediate and emerging needs and the resultant people and HR impact. Finally, the best HR Professionals provide a committed and transparent service, which clearly demonstrate business linkages and values.

To find out how CourageousHR can support the development of your HR Function please email [email protected] to arrange a call to discuss your specific development needs.