HR departments can be a critical differentiator in helping companies improve their operational and financial performance. Great HR functions connect with business leaders, strategically prioritize areas for improvement, and measure and communicate their impact.
“If you want to look at why workers are disengaged, why managers loathe the cheery emails about performance management, and why HR so often seems to be floundering, look at how dehumanized so many organizations have become over the years. Layoffs — or “reductions in force,” “rightsizing,” or any of a dozen other obfuscations — are a case in point. I heard from a friend at one firm where everyone at a certain level was told to sit in their offices at a designated time. If they didn’t get a call within 90 minutes, they still had a job. At another, no one was allowed to know who had been let go in order to supposedly protect the privacy of those affected. A friend described the discomfort and organizational dysfunction that followed: “When you would call someone and not get an answer, you didn’t know if the person was out at a meeting or simply out, period. We had to stumble in the dark.” Who designed these policies — Kafka or Stalin? Does anyone assess the long-term damage to the people and organization that remain?
I am not an HR expert, though I did get to know quite a number of HR executives when I helped produce some programs in conjunction with the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM, formerly the Society of Human Resource Executives). They were generally smart, caring, and enthusiastic people, but they were constantly in pursuit of an elusive “seat at the table” and perceived influence parity with other senior executives.”