I’ve written before that the true value of Human Resource Management is in taking a systemic approach to organisational performance. HR is at its strongest when it provides a convincing, cohesive agenda based on organisational understanding and environmental awareness. Understanding the internal and the external environments and delivering seamlessly across the organisation.
HR is at its weakest when it is fragmented, isolated, distant, disconnected and seemingly counter intuitive.
We’ve all seen the models of HRM that show the inter linkages between specialisms and functional capability, but more than that we can use our common sense to understand the importance. If reward strategy is aiming to achieve something different to the performance management approach, which is built on different principles to the learning and development plan and has nothing in common with the resourcing goals. Then we intuitively know that this is one screwed up organisation.
HRM is a broad church, as a profession it accepts people with specialisms, it accepts people transferring in from other professions and it accepts inter dependencies with other areas of business. The skill of the HR leader is to recognise the breadth, diversity and inter connectedness and yet to be able to present it in a cohesive, recognisable and understandable manner. It isn’t always easy, but it is always achievable.
As with any broad church, you’ll also find the conflicts, the tensions, the insecurities and the chips on shoulders. You’ll hear claims for greater seniority, more importance, recognition and responsibility. Learning and Development feels overlooked and not taken seriously enough, Resourcing wants to be seen to be more strategic, Compensation and Benefits doesn’t understand why people can’t be more compliant and Generalists believe they have a God given right to walk on water.
That’s just the way it is.
The role of the HR leader is to manage the tensions, to help build knowledge and understanding of the value of collaboration, cohesion and consistency. To take the view of the employee, the manager, the leader and not to be inward facing and self obsessed. Put simply, nobody cares about the internal relationships other than us, they just get in the way of delivering successful organisations.
We are stronger when we’re together, we’re weaker when we’ve divided. It is as simple as that.