HR has some image-building to do

The HR profession has been likened to car maker Skoda in new research into the perception of different business functions.

A survey of 200 UK executives, by HR consultancy Rialto, reveals that 68% of respondents likened HR to a Skoda, an automobile brand going through a major transition.

In comparison, 73% of those surveyed matched their finance department with Volvo, known for its safety and conservativeness, while a majority aligned marketing with Ford, and sales with Ferrari, which has a reputation for being “slick and quick”.

Drilling down further into the internal perception of the HR function, the research found that 27% of those surveyed regarded their HR function to be ‘bureaucratic’, while 15% said it was ‘cautious’.

Only 12% of respondents regarded their HR function as influential in their organisation. 

Focusing on delivering value, 47% of business executives surveyed believed that the primary function of HR was administration, 33% said recruitment, and 19% regarded HR’s main role as the negotiation of wages and benefits. 

Only 11% thought their HR function’s main role was to create a good working environment and only 14% said HR was primarily focused on staff retention. 

The research also found that 30% of people believed that their HR function does not meet current business requirements, while 65% were critical of the performance of management.

Richard Chiumento, chief executive of The Rialto Consultancy, said: “Skoda has been working hard on changing its image, which is a long-term process.

“This research shows that the HR industry is in a  similar position and in need of a brand makeover. 

“The good news is that it is not an impossible task, and with new attitudes, outlook and persistence, the industry can change its overall perception.”

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