HR Practitioners are often in a bind.  Tasked with developing an organisation’s greatest assets, they are the first to have budgets slashed, cop the blame for any ‘people’ problems, and rarely get a serious voice at the Leader’s table.  But what if that could all change?

First lets look at what the function of HR really is.  To some it is attracting the right staff, to others retention is the main concern, to others it is making sure that all of the administrative support required is completed properly.  To some it is all of these plus more.

But what is it really?  For me, the answer to this question defines HR’s biggest opportunity both now and in the future…

What if your job title started with C…?

Place yourself in the shoes of a CEO and/or CFO for a moment.  They are under pressure to deliver results from various people including themselves.  They were selected for their position to improve business performance.   They are smart and so despite what some might say, deep down they understand the virtues of things like Culture and Engagement.  However, in a world where competition is fierce and every resource counts, how would you go about making decisions if you were in their position?

What would get your attention?human-resources

Almost every Leader I have known has wanted to achieve what they set out to achieve.  It is not always about ego, it is just human nature.   Don’t we all want to be able to point at the difference we were able to make?  For many senior leaders, their shadow fear is that under their stewardship, they failed to guide the organisation towards the goals that were set in place.

Now imagine you had your HR Leader coming to you with one of the following:

  • I think we should conduct an Engagement Survey that will cost money.
  • I want to implement a new HR system that will cost loads of money.
  • I want to talk to you about how we can revolutionise our customer experiences to achieve our overall goals. 

It might be met with something like “I like the third one but hang on, you are in HR. Customers are the domain of our Sales and Marketing team”.

To which you could reply with “This is true, but if I could show you how I can support the organisation to achieve its goals through the attraction and retention of customers, would you be willing to listen?”

As a CFO or CEO, would you be game to turn down an offer like that?

How do you define your role’s overall purpose? 

Sure the example above is overly simplistic,  However, the main point is that somehow, HR seems to have separated itself from the main game – Customers.  In fact, during 2016, I didn’t find a single organisation where Marketing and HR truly worked together on the topic of driving a customer-led organisation.  The metrics often don’t support such a collaboration (which may be the root cause of the problem).

Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that suddenly HR fits into the Marketing department or anything like that.  It is more the mindset that feeds into the day-to-day reason for being.  If the purpose of HR is to focus on human resources but does so without keeping at least one eye on customers, it possibly keeps supporting the same disconnect that already exists.

Is this a big opportunity for both HR and Marketing?  You bet, but it requires a different type of thinking.

For more information on this topic please make sure you get in contact with us.

Jason Buchanan – General Manager, Insights and Innovation

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