Friday, May 10, 2013

HR in the hands of business: What shall the typical HR guy do?

My experiences in HR with IT  services company is very simple: HR is recruiting people and deploying them.
Hire anyway, beg, borrow, steal, spoil, anything....just hire..people are money, mind you $$$$..
So the most important challenge in IT services industry is procurement and deployment of the raw material called people. It is evident that IT Services companies can be categorized as the largest body-shopper, the fastest growing body-shoppers, the cheapest body-shopper, etc. So the most essential element of HR in body shopping is hiring or hunting or shopping or procurement. In the natural world of ups and downs, good times and bad times, glory and gloom, you will always get people to hire, market changes, locations change, cost may vary but every company is able to hire, good, bad or ugly.

Hiring is the key. Hire online, hire off-line, hire social media (Linked In), hire internally (IJP), hire of contract, hire on Third party rolls, etc. Hiring is everything....you get bad name and good name for hiring, rewards and promotions and good positions if you are hiring....Anything other than hiring is transactional admin task and they can be managed by others in HR..That's not important.

All other functions in HR are either admin or incidental. At least, this is the way, the business or operations managers and bosses look at the game of talent acquisition (TA) as the fancy term is called. Let's all give some respect to the people we hire ans use. They are talent.
Now having this expectations out of people, why expect more from the poor HR folks, from executives till the VPs? Will you allow them to take any actions that makes people believe that they are just not tools to success but they are the body and soul of the organisation. They are what defines organisation, it's DNA, it's business value to competitive advantage. Remember, bigger part of M&As are people acquisition and merger. Like Herb Kellehar of South-West Airline said, every airline company has airplanes. What makes the difference is intangible that binds, shapes and directs organisations.

Do not ignore people, they are just not commodities, which can be bought and replaced anytime.

I am absolutely in sync with the line of thinking that says, the best HR Managers are those who know the business best by experience, by being toiling there and being successful. Open the gates for HR to the Business folks. I guess, in the US, the real (yes real) HR jobs are with business people or who have moved to HR from business. They manage the "talent" part of people, like, capability building, cross-training, value building to people by positioning them in right roles, projects, customers, locations, under right set of leaders and managers.They do the real assessment and analysis of "fit" for each positioning, they take all factors into account that will ensure delivery and success of project and the people involved.

Admin part of HR like job posting, sourcing resumes, sending resumes for shortlisting, calling candidates for interview, setting the interview calls, VCs and providing interviewing managers with resumes and other assessment and evaluation papers, is left to HR or the TA, as is called.

My experience of working in the HR department of a Global Management Consulting firm has given this understanding very clearly as stated above. Even HR Managers and HR Partners do not do business people interviews. There is no concept of HR interview. The relevant questions of "fit", the typical HR interview part is done by Partners in the final leg of the interview.

So, all this is really very relevant and important topic to be discussed within HR fraternity. Are they really doing the valuable thing in HR or just coordination, support, housekeeping, pantry, statutory (and even these through vendors). So, time to think, are we in HR really doing anything worth?

The best I hear the real value adds of  HR Heads, you call them VPs or Directors or whatever, they do approve offers by looking at, what percentage hike has been given and if it crosses higher than perceptual range, they will ask, why so high o why so low? Don't you think, these are check list questions and can be even automated?
Have these Heads of HR in many companies ever asked, Is this the best guy we are hiring? Do we really have the best hiring and assessment strategy and tools, processes and people in the "war of talent"?

Where do the current candidates fare against the talent within the company from previous years? Do we have tangible data to support improved quality of hire?, robustness of process?, use of best tools and techniques to hire the best and create a "good show", impress a great "brand value"?

Not for status-quoits.  

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