Amidst all the talk in HR circles about HR adding value to business, a fundamental principal that is often overlooked by HR professionals is that value is defined by the receiver not the giver. All too often, and perhaps because we are the subject experts, we try to impose our beliefs, goals and actions and tend to overlook whether it is actually perceived to be of value by the receiver or not.
‘Influence with impact occurs when HR professionals start with the belief and goals of the receiver’ – Dave Ulrich.
As an HR professional, if you intend bringing in HR transformation in your organisation, it would pay to consider the following implications:
1. The work of HR does not begin with HR – it begins with the business. Consider the key personnel responsible for bringing wealth to the organisation, could be the investment banker in a investment banking firm or the marketing executive in a company manufacturing a product line. These wealth creators have a direct line of sight with the interest of customers, investors, managers and employees. To deliver value HR professionals need the same line of sight and alignment of HR activities with interests of key stakeholders. Only then can HR be a true business partner or strategic contributor.
2. All internal operations in a company are ultimately determined by what is happening in the market place or the external realities. The marketplace is the final receiver of business. HR must therefore be aware of the marketplace and aligned with it. HR should successfully create human abilities and organisational capabilities in a manner that the business is able to create products/services that the market demands.
3. HR can be the major source of competitive advantage for the business by creating human abilities and organisational capabilities that cannot be easily replicated by competition and which are highly valued by internal and external stakeholders.
4. For HR to create value as defined by stakeholders, HR must align it’s practices with the requirements of the customers, vendors, managers and employees.
What happens with the customers and investors on the outside is determined by what the managers and employees do inside the organisation. HR must therefore adopt a powerful perspective that establishes link between employee commitment, customer attitude and investor returns.
Thus it is imperative that HR begins with a holistic view of the business, becomes aware of external realities, customer needs and investor expectations. HR can then truly deliver value armed with this knowledge and when it is able to align its practices, create human abilities and organisational capabilities according to the needs of the stakeholders.
True HR work is therefore not about what it ‘does’ but what it ‘delivers’.