Less of the negativity – HR is making good progress

I was interested to read the opinion piece from Henley’s Chris Bones regarding negative organisational attitudes towards the HR function, and HR professionals lacking appetite for their own development (Personnel Today, 9 October). While this may still be prevalent within many organisations, I do not share the pessimism expressed.

We are working with a significant number of major organisations that are enthusiastic about investing time and resources in developing their own people and their own functions progressive HR professionals who are passionate and enthusiastic about making a difference in their own organisations.

While there continues to be anecdotal evidence of a lack of respect of the HR function, this does not represent the perception of the HR function across all organisations.

Based on my experience of the organisations we deal with, I see that the future of the HR function in many organisations is in very good hands.

There may still be issues of a shortage of particular competencies in the profession – for example, financial capabilities and expertise relating to a deep understanding of the business context – and these may lead to an unrealised potential in terms of earning respect from both management and employees. However, it is now a given that HR professionals gain key qualifications, with advanced postgraduate study that includes the business context being the norm.

In many organisations, the function is showing considerable development, and its professionals are successful in achieving the respect and influence they deserve.

Stuart Woollard
Director, HRM Learning Board
Department of Management
King’s College London

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