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Sunday, January 16, 2011

The CEO's HR Responsibility

As we advocate for HR to take on a more strategic role in organizations in the Philippines, we observe several stumbling blocks that make it difficult to achieve transformation. The most critical of these is the lack of readiness of HR to play the role. Years of traditional expectations have caused those who are looking for HR professionals to use criteria for hiring that do not consider HR's strategic and change agent roles. As a result, we now have an oversupply of HR professionals who are very good in playing traditional roles and are efficient in managing personnel transactions but are barely able to stand shoulder to shoulder with other managers in addressing the organization's strategic needs.

As we all agree that people (knowledge, skills, attitude and habit) are vital to organization success and that many HR practitioners are not prepared to step up to the plate, CEO's need to put more attention to it and take a more active role in enabling an environment that promote professional growth and people alignment.

What should CEO's do?

The best thing really is to find an HR manager who is capable of playing a strategic partner role. Someone who can be effective in doing administrative tasks as well as an internal consultant and change agent.

If the CEO does not have this kind of luxury, they have two choices. The first is to seek competency development for key HR people, the other one is to be actively involved in HR Management. In all cases CEOs need to ensure that HR goals are aligned with business goals. They need to shift HR's mindset from traditional metrics to ones that really make a difference. For example, recruitment measure should not just be timeliness of delivery but job fit as well. Training metrics should not just be about number of training hours but transfer of learning to the workplace. Instead of comprehensiveness of the company's performance management system, CEOs should see to it that performance improvement is being monitored. This is of course not to say that the other measures are not important, i'm just saying that to stop at measuring HR activities is to diminish HR's accountability for contributing to business result.

More than money and technology, people makes the most difference in organizations. People management is easy to take for granted because people fend for themselves with or without interventions. However, it pays to give some focus to it and ensure that effective strategies are applied to people management.

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