Vive la différence

I’m often pleased to be reminded just how easy it is to work in the profession we lovingly call HR. It is rare that a month goes past without another profession stepping forth to attempt to articulate why they should be the people who HR report in to.

Finance, Marketing, Operations all have their moment. And funnily enough it is precisely because so many functions can see an overlap that HR shouldn’t report in to any of them.

Imagine the look on the CFO’s face when you talked about the costs of the employer branding campaign that projects the spirit of the EVP to the external market. Why bother right? Surely we can just chuck some ads on some websites?

The Marketing Director glazing over as we explain the need for benchmarking our broad banded salary scales to ensure that the overall compensation and benefits package remains competitive with our stated median position.  Crack the champagne…..who’s counting?

And of course the Operations Director would be more than sympathetic to the need to develop a longer term OD strategy to ensure the successful transformation of the business. As long as it can be delivered in….say the next twenty minutes?

As a profession we are different to the others, hence the reason we exist, but we are also have significant similarities. Hence the reason that so many areas think they can add their expertise. Which of course they can. Which, in turn, is of course the point.

Organisations are increasingly multi dimensional and complex. Successful organisations work with multi disciplinary teams that are focused on solutions and delivery, not on hierarchy and reporting. And successful HR people know that they should draw on the expertise of the various other departments that exist within the organisation.

But their uniqueness comes in being able to knit together the varying elements to deliver a successful organisation for all stakeholders, management, employees and shareholders.

Arguing that, to improve, HR should sit in Finance to be more commercial, Marketing to be more creative or Operations to be more…..operational is akin to arguing that you get a better service by making the waiters report to the chefs or improve the ground ability of the air force by making them report to the infantry.

The real agenda is recruiting and developing the right HR people, with the right mindset and the right ethos. But of course, that’s a whole other blog. And right now I need to go and have my regular chat with the CFO. He’s a lovely chap, and would be the first to tell you, that he wouldn’t want my job in a million years.

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