‘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.”

One thought on “‘What Does the C-Suite Think HR Does?’”

  1. Interesting thoughts on the role of HR in an organization. HR can streamline its processes with the help of technology to increase efficiencies and reduce costs . Came across this whitepaper http://bit.ly/129lgnw on how this can be achieved through technology “Leveraging Microsoft Dynamics AX to optimize your human resources function”.

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