Monday, September 28, 2009
HR Is not a Department
"It's HR's job"is the excuse I often hear whenever line managers refuse to cooperate with Human Resource Department activities and initiatives.
Proof? Lack of management participation in many HR activities like recruitment, training, performance management, employee relations and the likes. More proof; partially completed manpower requisition forms that leave HRD guessing and often wasting their time finding people using partial data; poor participation in training needs analysis or failure to send people to right training; doing performance appraisals for compliance purposes; relegating discipline to HRD and nonattendance in events aimed to improve management and employee relations.
This is all because they think these things are all HRD's job, not theirs. Theirs is to produce business results by making people work their asses off. The funny thing is, many HR Managers think this is true, and this is why many HR managers take it upon themselves to hire people with as little input from the line as possible, dictate training needs, discuss performance and discipline issues directly with employees and taking full ownership of employee relations activities.
As a result, HRD often fails to meet expectations of both managers and employees. It also results to wrong hires, non attendance in training or poor or non-followthrough on learning, ineffective performance management systems, toleration by managers of employees violating company policies. I would even go to the extent of saying that most of HR's problem is rooted in this mindset that these things are the sole province of HRD.
The truth is, HR is human resources, in other words people. To say that HR is not the line managers' business is to say that people are not their business. Line managers are not managers of processes and machines, they are managers of people who are in charge of these processes and machines. HRD, the department is in charge of HELPING line managers, manage their human resources, not manage their human resources for them. HRD is not a surrogate parent, it's not a nanny, it's the doctor that supports the employees' health. It's the school teacher that helps in the employees' education. It's the congressman that drafts rules in consultation with the managers so managers can set clear work-related guidelines. You get the metaphors? The line managers are the persons responsible for managing their people, not the department. The department is there to;
Support the managers in finding the right people for the job;
Support the managers in training their employees;
Support the managers in managing their employees' performance;
Support the managers in building better relationships with their employees; and
Support the managers in their efforts to retain the right talents.
HR is everyone's job but moreso the Line Managers'. HRD, the department is, I repeat a support group. I believe that if both line managers and HRD play their roles right, the employees and the organization at large will benefit from it. In a company with the right cooperation between HRD and the line, These happen:
Managers hire the right people with HRD's help
Managers get their employees trained with HRD's help
Managers manage their employees' performance with HRD's help
Managers build relationship with their employees with HRD's help
Managers make their employees accountable for their behavior with HRD's help.
Truth be told, I was tempted to say "with or without" HRD's help but I realized I'd be out of the job if I say that...hehehe.
Seriously, managing human resources is not easy. With managers in charge of business results, they need all the help they can get in managing their most complex resource - People. HRD should be there to help, not to take over.