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Hurrah For HR!

Sunday, August 19, 2007   

Archive Post;

When the late, great Peter Drucker questioned the relevance of HR departments, there were some who took this to mean HR itself was at fault. 

I've seen criticism directed at HR departments steadily increase over the past ten years, with the main issue being that they all too often operate at a tangent to, or totally detached from, the commercial or operational needs of the business.

I'm not suggesting this isn't the case - the evidence, such as that gathered by McKinsey, speaks for itself of course.  What I certainly do question is that old chicken or the egg question:

What came first... detached HR practices - or organisations that treated HR issues as secondary to those things that they considered to be REALLY important?

I've been privileged  to work with some brilliant HR people who, over time, because of institutionalised apathy to the crucial importance of something like hiring the right people, they've tended to end up rather like politicians; they come into the job full of enthusiasm and wanting to change the world, only to be gradually worn down so the extent that they end up either falling in with the flow or getting out all together.

But this post is dedicated to the exceptions; like the person I would dearly like to name (if site policy wasn't total anonymity) who recently chaired a meeting of senior management at a new client, a part- transcript of which follows:-

HR Director: "So as you have heard, we need to invest more time up front if we are to reap the benefits such as Peter has described".

Finance Director: "It's all very well but I haven't got time for any of this 'Discovery or whatever you call it - I'm just too busy.  I have expert finance agencies who know what I want.  If I need a cost accountant, I call them, and within a few days I've got CV's of cost accountants. Simple as that".

HR Director: "Yes, I thought you might say that.  Last year you spent £180,000 on recruitment....

Finance Director: "We've had growth of 130% due to the takeovers, what do you expect?"

HR Director: "Let me finish... and a further £240,000 on severance pay getting rid of people hired through your so-called 'experts' who we should never had brought in in the first place"

Finance Director: "Ah, I didn't realise that"

HR Director: "Furthermore, taking Peter's point on turnover versus profit, considering our 8% margin, that's £3million we have to now turnover to get back to the position where we hadn't wasted the £240,000 in the first place".

Who says that, given the chance, HR can't be commerical!

© Copyright 2007 - please credit where shared or reproduced.


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Peter Drucker - "Business has only two real functions: marketing and innovation".

Of course, Drucker knew that companies get neither of these without good hiring practice!



HR & Politicians - both start off wanting to change the world... some even end up achieving this!   





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