HR must show off its commercial success

I read with interest the articles regarding human capital management (HCM) and your cover story on HR being the unhappiest UK profession in the UK (Personnel Today, 14 June). I can’t help but feel the two items are intrinsically related.

For HCM read ‘adding value’, ‘bottom line focused’, ‘commercially aware’. For unhappy HR professional read ‘HR not an integral part of the business’ – a common theme is that the employer does not take HR seriously or business managers do not understand the true worth of HR.

HR needs to stand tall and shout about the tangible commercial successes it has had in the business. If an HR director cannot put a measure on the saving that their restructuring idea or shared-service initiative has had then clearly the chief executive is not going to listen. As soon as you can demonstrate that your HR initiatives have saved the business £100,000 here or £350,000 there, then the business drivers will start to see your contribution, recognise you as an equal business partner and value the HR function.

HR professionals often say they want to work in an organisation where HR is seen as an integral part of the business. Where this is the case it is invariably because an HR professional has aligned HR with business objectives and demonstrated so to the CEO.

CEOs make a £500,000, five-year investment when appointing a new HR director. Of course they are interested in HCM and the commercially savvy HR professional.

Nigel Hawkins
Director, executive division
Ashley Kate Associates Group

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