Network - Summer 2010 - (Page 29)

O Feature The Role of Human Resources Departments By Robert Bacal, M.A. S ome human resources (HR) departments (sometimes called personnel or a current new name) really add value to a company. Some don’t. That’s no surprise. But what sets apart the good ones from the bad ones? Here’s one way of looking at it. Some human resources departments have maintained an old command and control mentality, where they see their jobs as making sure managers and employees are doing what they are supposed to. Is everyone on time? Why not? What about sick leave? Are all the rules being followed? It’s not that these departments are misguided, because some rules, (e.g. hiring practices, safety, harassment, etc.) ARE important and need to be handled centrally by a company. Or, certain programs and procedures may best be handled by a central department because of the need to coordinate some actions across the entire company. Problems arise, however, when the HR department forgets that its purpose is to serve the needs of the company, the managers and the employees, to help THEM get the work done. After all, is your company’s human resources department a profit centre? Of course not. The HR department doesn’t produce anything or sell anything but it can help the rest of the company make things or sell things by smoothing the path on some matters. What sets good HR departments apart from the bad is that the bad ones lose their service orientation, and forget that if they don’t help others get their jobs done, they won’t get cooperation from those they should be helping. The good ones recognize that while they are obligated to do some regulation of some processes, they NETWORK O Summer 2010 What sets good HR departments apart from the bad is that the bad ones lose their service orientation. can play important leadership roles in the organization. And that does NOT mean dictating, but rather balancing off the needs of the organization with the needs of the managers and employees. What would this look like? Let’s take an example: performance appraisal. Poor HR departments go about performance appraisal this way: They devise a set of rules and forms on their own, then go forth (if they have executive support) and TELL managers and employees what they SHALL do. They tend not to consult, or if they consult they just forget to listen to the people who have to use these sometimes monstrous procedures. What happens is that since HR tends to be somewhat distant from the users of the system, the process misses. Managers and employees see the process as another hoop to jump through, and stall, or avoid doing what they are supposed to. What happens is that HR then has to move into the police or enforcer role, to try to coerce managers to do what they are supposed to do. O 29

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Network - Summer 2010

Network - Summer 2010
HRIA President’s Message
Congratulations to our Award Winners!
HRIA Conference Coverage
Coaching Conversations Support Organizational Effectiveness
Strategic Human Resources: Avoiding Circular Conversations
Leading with Emotional Intelligence
Making the Case for Enhancing Employee Engagement
The Role of Human Resources Departments
Innovate or Evaporate: The time to act is NOW!
Positioning Yourself for Executive Roles Now
The HR Office
Index of Advertisers

Network - Summer 2010