Human resources (HR) has seen a paradigm shift from being merely an administrative function to compliance custodianship to now emerging as an integral business enabler. The vital role played by it, in wake of the pandemic, to steer sustainable business success, has increased multifold. But do we still understand it in all its aspects?
Good HR is not just about hiring/firing but serious business. It is a subtle combination of deep expertise in the subject matters and an equal measure of understanding of business, with last but not the least, the right level of sensitivity towards people.
However, there still remains some myths about the function that need to be busted.
In an interaction with People Matters, Shubha Shridharan, Group SVP, HR, APAC, at leading HR solutions company, The Adecco Group, who oversees all interventions in this vertical in the region, with her team of highly talented leaders located in 11 countries, shares five hard truths about the key sphere.
Excerpts from the interview
HR function not merely responsible for hiring/retrenching people
In my early days at work, it used to get me psyched; each time I heard about the ignorance of people who thought of the HR function to be synonymous to the hiring and retrenching department. That is so untrue!
Hiring good people aligned with the organisation's values is the most critical responsibility of line managers and business leaders, along with your HR partners. This is a collaborative undertaking.
Unfortunately, many people do not get it!
Recruiting and onboarding relevant people into the company is the most strategic activity and should be taken up with utmost sincerity involving relevant stakeholders, which HR experts facilitate.
The same is the case with letting go of people. Be it from a performance deficit standpoint or other business reasons, and the decision to let go of people is usually a collective enterprise decision.
The HR function takes the heavy task of executing the decision with respect and dignity. But the messenger here always takes the shot! That needs to change.
HR professionals not mere engagement angels
I have often seen many HR functions solely delegated to organise office parties and engagement events.
Please do not get me wrong - building engagement is absolutely critical, but when it is trivialised with a few mindless events without being anchored with a clear purpose, it totally loses its relevance.
However, HR professionals repeatedly are asked to play the role of cheer leading such events with or without their preference.
The role of your HR function is a lot more meaningful; understand and leverage it meaningfully.
HR professionals do not understand numbers
This is another myth I would like to bust. I have seen several HR professionals all through my career who understand the company's financials exceptionally well and can devise people strategies to align with the business requirements and employees' aspirations. This is a capability I see increasing rapidly among the HR fraternity.
So please take note; your HR folks have the innate ability to comprehend the financial realities and blend them with people realities. Not an easy skill!
HR professionals not tech-savvy, cannot interpret data
This is so not true. I have witnessed a large majority of HR colleagues that not only understand technology but can also articulate its benefits and interpret the implications supported by relevant data and analytics.
People analytics, supported by relevant technology, is not a nice to do, but a must-do for companies to nurture business success. And your HR professionals are best equipped to help you on that journey, and they are extremely aware of this and are ready to support you in that journey.
HR professionals gifted crisis managers
The last couple of years has proven to us what this function could do to adapt quickly and respond to the incredible crisis that pandemic imposed on us overnight in many places.
I have seen my own HR teams leading several employee care initiatives, putting people first, and operating in extreme situations. Our HR teams' ability to think fast and connect with people offering instant solutions, small and big, was instrumental in coping with the unsurmountable challenges that the Covid-19 pandemic posed to our organisations.
They deserve every bit of respect, recognition and more for how they stood as the pillar during those critical moments.
Good HR enables the organisation to maneuver the changing work patterns while establishing the dignity and equity of all humans in the workplace. Thereby truly preparing ourselves for "making the future work for all."
Do not crave for that seat - just do your job well, and the seat always belonged to you! Good companies know it well.