HR needs to stand up and be counted

It’s ironic that in the same week we publish our top 40 HR power players for 2005, recruitment firm Kelly Services releases a report concluding that HR is the unhappiest profession in the UK.

Click here for the full list of the top 40 power players

Click here for the report on unhappiness in the HR profession

Unlike Europe where HR is the most satisfied of all business divisions, four in 10 HR professionals say they are unhappy or very unhappy, and only 46% admit to being happy or very happy in their jobs.

There is clearly a large divide between those who are leading the way in HR practice – ably translating business priorities into compelling people management strategies – and those who feel stressed, overlooked and sick of shouldering other people’s problems.

So what’s the solution to make HR feel good about itself? Is becoming more strategic the pick-me-up for such low morale? Show that you add value, and as a result you will also feel more valuable?

That’s what the CBI suggests. It’s also what a group of HR professionals concluded at last week’s HR Directors Club workshop on human capital management (HCM). HR wants to be considered as more than just record-keepers, they said, so it’s up to HR to have courage in its convictions, to be an enabler and a driver of change.

Start by finding out what’s important to the business and how HR can help, then report back using language business leaders understand.

Sales and marketing departments don’t worry about presenting their projected figures, and neither should HR. Don’t worry whether it’s called HCM or something else; just start with statistics that show HR’s value to the bottom line. And fit your argument to the strategic picture the board is interested in.

They concluded that HR must be brave, courageous, and prepared to stand up and be counted. If more HR professionals do this, then choosing next year’s top 40 power players will be a much tougher job.

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