A less cloistered view of HR role would help to add value

If I were a finance director, I think I would be extremely reluctant to have HR reporting to me if the department displayed the kind of thinking reported in the profile of the personnel manager at Canterbury Cathedral (Personnel Today, 31 January).

It is nonsense to suggest that you cannot apply the same measures, financial or otherwise, in a not-for-profit organisation as you can in a profit-making one. Indeed, I would have thought that stringent financial controls and measurements would have been more important at Canterbury Cathedral than in many other organisations. Surely all organisations need to make enough money to continue to exist and to constantly explore how to do more for less. If this cannot be linked to people’s jobs, then someone from the outside world needs to come and explain how it is done.

What I would be expecting HR to work on with finance (and other disciplines) is the balance between the spiritual and the commercial; between caring for the heritage of a building that is more than 900 years old and making that building work in the 21st century, and between tourists and the congregation. If that is not what HR is doing, then no wonder we are unable to demonstrate added value.

Jackie Roberts
Consultant, JR Consulting

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