What is human resources (HR) so afraid of, that it jealously guards its professional qualifications as a minimum standard for entry into the function? It betrays such a lack of confidence.
I don’t think I’m being hugely controversial when I say the best people in HR are those with operational and line management experience. They are the ones with the right blend of knowledge, pragmatism, creativity and risk-taking – attributes that drive organisations forward.
Time-served, through-the-ranks HR gives only a one-eyed, theoretical, rule-book view of business.
Are you one of those people, and are you already raging at my gross generalisations? Well don’t. Instead, go out and actively seek an operational secondment. See what it does for your view of the business, your self-respect and your esteem among colleagues.
And you know what else? Go out and persuade some line managers to spend some time in HR. It works both ways.
Without this vital cross-fertilisation, HR faces an impotent future as an administrative cost centre, and we all know what happens to those.
Advocates of the self-serving, protectionist view of HR as a profession with falsely high educational barriers to entry will ultimately cause its extinction.
HR needs to market itself as a function that ambitious executives need to experience on their way to the top. Only then will the next generation of business leaders understand its importance and give it the attention and prestige it deserves.