Unloved but invaluable: HR needs to stand up for itself

It seems that we have another call for HR to justify its existence (Personnel Today, 7 March). Unloved maybe, but does that translate to unwanted?

In the context of no-one having the right to exist in an organisation, it is not unreasonable for HR to have to demonstrate added value.

Being strategic is a necessity, but let’s not throw the baby out with the bath water by assuming that everything else is of low to little importance. The basics done well are a good starting point because they create a level of confidence on which to build. Is a chief executive really going to listen to the strategic advice of an operation that cannot manage to pay people properly?

HR, therefore, needs to take a good look at itself and demand improvements. Even if we think we do a great job, there is no reason why we shouldn’t do a fantastically great job that links directly to the bottom line of why our organisations exist in the first place. We need to avoid being driven into a one-size-fits-all solution and look at what adds most value.

We should see the survey [of senior executives] as a challenge. We may remain unloved, but who cares if the other side of the equation says we are truly invaluable?

Alan Warner

Director of people and property

Hertfordshire County Council

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