‘What Does the C-Suite Think HR Does?’

57571241--exec alone in officeWe get an awful lot of consultants chiming in regularly on the things HR professionals need to be doing to be doing their jobs better … and I often give them shorter than longer shrift.

But this release from HR Daily Advisor caught my eye today, not just because of the catchy headline, “What Does the C-Suite Think HR Does?” but because of what follows.

The piece, by Steve Bruce, quotes Andrew Botwin, founder of SPC Consulting, who offered the following tips — I’d like to call them talking points — at BLR’s 2013 Strategic HR Summit held recently in Scottsdale, Ariz.

For starters:

What the C-Suite Thinks HR Does

  • Says  “No”
  • Hires  and Fires
  • Controls  with rules and enforcement
  • Generates  costs and overhead
  • Gets  in the way

What HR Really Does

  • Looks out for the company
  • Makes sure bad things don’t happen
  • Engages in risk management
  • Makes money
  • Saves money

Talk about competing — make that conflicting — perceptions.

According to Bruce, Botwin then went on to quote a recent Forbes article, “It’s time to  fire HR,” reminiscent of the now-famous Fast Company‘s “Why We Hate HR” from 2005. This latest article “says HR is a necessary evil, a dark force that revels in red tape and gibberish,” according to Botwin, who adds that yet another indicator of HR’s less-than-stellar reputation “is that top students are not thinking about HR as a career.”

Without vouching yay or nay for this being today’s real perception of the HR profession (I see both truths and exaggerations in the notes above), I thought Botwin’s recommendations for curing the misperceptions were worth sharing. In short, they include taking unconditional responsibility for things that happen; talking like a business person and problem solver; looking for ways to create analytics, but never relying exclusively on one metric; developing programs that foster engagement, but remembering that programs don’t engage, people do; and a few other gems.

His concise, straightforward explanations for all these “tips” are worth the read. So is the comment from reader Barb: “Unfortunately, HR usually is not for the sensitive. You need a tough skin to deal with the perceptions of both the C-suite and the rank and file.”

1 Comment

  1. james says:

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