For HR directors, earning respect can be a tough job [By Michael Kinsman] You might have heard this from your employer once or you might have heard it a thousand times: Employees are our most valuable asset.
If that’s truly the case, why isn’t there more
placing them in the right positions, and then
struggled to gain recognition in executive
respect for the people charged with managing
providing them with a work environment that
suites because it has been a developing
inspires achievement and success is integral
profession over the past few decades.
It’s a problem that nags human resources
to the overall business strategy. “It used to be personnel and then it was often
directors every day. They know how they do
Jordan suggests that HR executives have to
seen as some sort of administrative function,”
their job is vital to the success of the company,
find a way to prove their roles are valuable, if
she says. “But now you see - particularly in
but why don’t more top executives see that?
they are to be accepted at the highest levels of
larger companies - the recognition that you
have to include HR as an essential component
“Maybe it’s because everyone around the table thinks they can handle the role of
Susan Guenther, vice president of Challenger,
the human resources director,” says Clark
says most companies don’t have a direct
Jordan, assistant dean of the Rady School of
link from the HR director to the top of the
Management at the University of California San
Diego. “Of course, they can’t handle that job, but that doesn’t stop them from thinking they can.”
“I think people acknowledge that HR is important and should have a voice in the
So the Rodney Dangerfields of the corporate
highest part of the company, but no one
world - human resources directors - continue
seems to know how to get HR people there,”
to strive for respect.
she says. “It’s always been a problem.”
The Rady School and the Chicago outplacement
Jordan and Guenther believe that HR has
firm of Challenger, Gray & Christmas are hoping to change that. In January, they will launch a series of monthly forums that will pull together chief executives, board members and human resources executives. “I think HR people bring every bit as much to the table as the heads of engineering, finance or operations, but not everyone sees it that way,” Jordan says. “We want to open up a dialogue between these parties in hope
a role in setting the strategic course of the companies and that chief executives are becoming more aware of that. “Just look at the venture capitalists,” Guenther says. “Most VCs won’t put up money unless the right team of people is in place. That shows that they recognize the value of HR’s role in putting together the right mix of people to run a company.”
for strategic planning.” She says she expects more companies to acknowledge the importance of HR as part of the general business plan within the next five years. “We have a tight job market now, but that will be changing in the years ahead,” says Stevenson, who runs an executive coaching firm for women called Lifted Fog. “The tipping point will come when the war for talent returns. CEOs will be scrambling to find good employees then, and that’s when a lot of companies will really realize the importance of HR, not just for hiring and retention, but for being able to create a culture that is conducive to success.” Jordan thinks some HR executives have contributed to their failure to gain acceptability at the senior executive table. “Frankly, a lot of them just don’t see
that HR will become a more integral part of
Companies are little more than a variety of
themselves as someone who can become
people working together toward a common
the chief executive of the company,” he
goal. The most cutting-edge technology in the
says. “If you look around at other divisions
world doesn’t ensure success unless there is
- operations, marketing or legal - you see
a cohesive team working together to leverage
people who aspire to be CEOs.
Part of the problem is that CEOs often look at HR as reactionary, rather than as a strategic business tool that can help the company at multiple levels. The Rady School hopes to show CEOs and board members that hiring the right people, PAGE
“But I think they bring every bit as much to the
Sue Stevenson, who has held senior HR
table as engineering, finance or operations.
positions with companies such as Elan,
That’s what we hope CEOs and directors will
Novartis and Xerox, believes that HR has
come to understand,” he said.
Published on Dec 12, 2012
All About Human Resources Directors And Informative Discussion About Human Resources Executives, Strategic Business Tools, Human Resources M...