What’s Wrong With HR & How You Can Fix It

broken linkAs always, the hardest problems are typically the easiest to fix as well. You just need the right mindset & a plan that works for all. After reading HBR’s Why Managers and HR Don’t Get Along, I thought I’d highlight the key learnings that will immediately transform your own challenges in the HR space.

The Four Roles of HR

There are actually four roles played by HR people, and in most cases an HR person only specializes in just one of these roles:

  1. administrative expert
  2. employee advocate
  3. strategic business partner
  4. change agent

I often find myself working with clients / HR departments in nailing #3 & 4, bring HR to the E-suite roundtable as a critical contributor to business performance & success.

What’s Broken & Needs Fixing

Storytelling & process planning; not enough HR people are empathetic enough, nor take the time to get into the head of those whom they rely on for success. An old buddhist quote “seek to understand before expecting to be understood” is the first mindset shift that needs to happen in order for there to be success. As HR, one needs to understand the BIG PICTURE instead of just looking at the situation as an isolated process they need to implement. It’s an ecosystem issue & all of the action / reaction, cause & effect issues of standard problem solving & decision making need to be understood.

Solution – Instead of simply forcing a process, tell a story, one that’s relevant to the audience, and then partner with that audience conscious that you’re about to affect an ecosystem.

 Manager / Leader Beware & Take Responsibility; (directly quoted from article) many managers don’t fully accept their own accountability for managing human capital, and instead want HR people to “take care of it” for them. They avoid or delay activities such as candidate interviews, performance assessments, employee feedback discussions, compensation reviews, responses to engagement surveys, and a host of others. Often this avoidance is based on a lack of time, skills, or interest – or anxiety about getting into tough interpersonal territory. No matter the reason, it leaves HR people acting like the process police and chasing after recalcitrant line managers, which does very little to enhance the relationship.

Solution – Be the change you want to see & take responsibility for the people for whom you’re accountable to.

Business Acumen; all too many HR people don’t take the time to truly understand their company’s business and the pressures facing its managers. Learn THE BUSINESS, instead of just your job description.

Solution – Understand how your role is expected to help others deliver high performance & do the right things that produce results. Business results, not just employee engagement results. HR is responsible for ensuring the development of the most precious & expensive resources of an organization. Be the business facilitator you need to be.

Call to Action

How does your own HR organization stack up in their performance of the Four Roles of HR? On a scale of 1-5, a 3 being we’re OK at it, how would you rate your HR in each role?

Unless you’re striving to be +4 & above, you’ve got the wrong expectations for a high performance & engaged organization.


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