Henley Management College principal Chris Bones says HR must restore value of transactional activities

HR must restore the value of transactional activities rather than downgrading them to the back office, a leading academic has warned in his vision of HR in 2020.

Chris Bones, principal at Henley Management College, told delegates at a Personnel Today HR Directors Club networking dinner last week that HR must get the basics right before tackling long-term strategy.

This included increasing the accuracy of employee information, and boosting the speed of HR’s response to queries, he said.

“Many organisations have applied the [Ulrich] business partner model to enable HR to achieve its aims, when [the model] doesn’t fit them,” he said. “By relegating the transactional [activities] to the back office, we have devalued the one thing that employees care about. HR needs to restore the value of transactions [and] the personnel function.”

But David Evans, head of HR at EDF Energy, said he would be “personally demotivated” if the only challenge ahead for the profession focused on transactions.

“If all HR can offer is to get the basics right, I would be switched off,” he said. “I can’t inspire my staff to talk about strategic thinking and long-term goals if the job is all about checking pay sheets and contact details. [HR] may lose out on talent to other departments offering ‘sexier’ career paths.”

The HR Directors Club is sponsored by Arinso, GMAC Global Relocation Services, Hammonds and XpertHR.

Click here for a full summary of the discussion

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