Related posts:No related photos. Previous Article Next Article HR needs to stop criticising itselfOn 14 May 2002 in Personnel Today Many ‘experts’ criticise HR professionals for a lack of involvement inbusiness strategy. HR’s response should be to help one another become moreinfluential at senior level, writes Louise AllenCan I be the only person in the field of strategic HR who feels a wave offrustration wash over them every time an ‘expert’ highlights the shortcomingsof HR professionals? It is criticisms about our lack of understanding or involvement in businessstrategy that I find most tiresome. I agree that to work in the field ofstrategic HR and not understand the importance of business planning is a wasteof everybody’s time. As HR professionals, we are obliged to recognise thatthese are clear development needs and opportunities because we have to be ableto make a difference and to measure what we contribute. But we should challenge those who criticise so freely – providingconstructive suggestions is a lot more difficult. There are great HR directors and managers out there, who take their seat atthe executive table with great confidence and produce innovative people plans.However, there are also many organisations where this is not possible. Cultures in these employers are often dictated by a lack of acceptance andunderstanding by senior line managers who refuse to have anything to do with‘soft and fluffy people stuff’. These can be the same senior managers who often reject the notion ofbusiness plans as a waste of management time. Typical phrases include: ‘we havethe budgets – what else do we need?’ and ‘anyone who doesn’t know what’sexpected of them round here, doesn’t belong’. Where these prejudices exist in organisations, the opportunities for HRprofessionals to make a realistic contribution are much diminished. There are,however, ways and means to ensure that the HR team is doing everything it canto position itself well even when barriers exist. It is vital to understand your business. How well do you understand yourbusiness’ key performance indicators? It is important to be able to engageother managers about business performance and related issues. There also has to be clear business links in the HR strategy. Can youdemonstrate business benefits for all your activities? It is also important youare prepared to be held accountable for success measures in exactly the sameway other business managers are. HR has to be able to lead and manage business change. How confident are youthat you can support and lead managers through the constant challenge ofbusiness change? The implementation of an innovate people strategy will only be achieved ifyou understand the role your HR team plays. Are you and your HR colleaguesfocused on the improvement of business performance, or do you get caught up inenforcing rules and regulations? Influencing and leadership skills are also important. Are you able toconfidently present and represent the people issues? It is vital you caninfluence the business debate in your organisation to ensure people values arefully reflected in the resulting business plans. HR professionals need personalskills around ‘intent’ and ‘impact’ to be effective. While none of these suggestions are solutions in themselves, in myexperience they will provide opportunities to make a difference. Rather than HR criticising itself, we should be looking to help each otherlearn to be influential with senior managers. We need to make moreopportunities to share best practice through networking and the like. These are just some of the ways to overcome our deficiencies. I know this isan area the CIPD is keenly aware of and I – like many others – await itsdeliberations with interest. In the meantime, we are in the development business – so let us stop criticisingeach other and focus on support. By Louise Allen, a director of Cedar International Comments are closed.