HR needs freeing up to be a major player

first_img Comments are closed. I have just returned from Denver, where I attended the 2002 SHRM ThoughtLeaders conference, an annual retreat hosted by the SHRM Foundation tohighlight the projected hot items for HR professionals over the next fiveyears. I was intrigued by the almost singular focus on the impact of e-HR, and howour profession can and will be shaped by this, and what HR leadership mightlook like going forward. Professor Ed Lawler of the University of Southern California explored whatwill happen to HR after e-HR really arrives. Lawler, professor of managementand organisation at the university’s Marshall School of Business, believesthere are three possible outcomes. HR becomes the subset of an IT-basedorganisation; HR is obliterated by e-HR and is no longer needed or relevant; orHR finally gets the running room and legs necessary to truly move forward – notjust as a business partner, but as a business player. My vote is clearly on the side of HR taking a fully engaged role within anorganisation. This, however, presupposes two things. First, that senior managementin your entity want and embrace this, or at the very least will let you movethis forward; second, that you – as the HR leader – have the skills,competencies and capabilities to manage and deliver this for your business. Cheryl Fields Tyler, vice-president of performance consultancy the ConcoursGroup, proposed an interesting three-phase model of HR, which segmented ourprofession as transactional, partner and player. I liked this, and can happilyadvocate that being a business partner and having a seat at the table is nownecessary, but no longer sufficient. Yes, for those of you who’ve been aspiringto business partner status, I’m saying that’s not enough. So how do you know where you are? On the transactional front, if HR isconsumed with discussions with frontline employees about address changes andinsurance paperwork, then this is all we’ll be perceived to be of value for.Yes, it must be done, but it can’t be perceived as our sole raison d’etre. On the business partner side, if we spend our time with the right people(the business development folks, finance, operations, board members, et al),but only discuss HR issues, then we’ll have achieved partner status at least –but are we really there? I believe, though, that it is not until we spend our days talking withbusiness leaders, board members, external stake (and stock) holders aboutbroader business issues, and effectively deliver the people component ofsolutions, that we will truly be players. The technologies coming with e-HR and various outsourcing mechanisms willclearly liberate HR professionals to do other things. Whether we choose to movethis into more value-added areas of support for our businesses, or allow ouroccasional irrelevancy to take over, is really the next great question. By Lance J. Richards, Board Director, SHRM Global Forum Related posts:No related photos. HR needs freeing up to be a major playerOn 20 Aug 2002 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Articlelast_img read more