Human Resources – MIA, But Needed Now More Than Ever

For years, Jack Welch (former CEO of GE) has pleaded that human resources is one of the most important functions in any corporation. Alas, the reality in most companies today is that human resources (HR) people do not have a seat at the corporate table when most important decisions are made.

The downturn has exacerbated this trend as companies have focused their efforts on the critical functions of operations and sales and all but eliminated their people-centric thinking.

  • “Our employees are lucky to have a job and should be appreciative that they still have one.”
  • “If an employee is not happy, that is fine. There are plenty more people out there that would be glad to work at our great company.”
  • “We do not have the money to waste on employee development. The employees can just learn on the job.”

Companies have stopped hiring, cut salaries or bonuses, and slashed training budgets.

As a result, a large majority of employees are disengaged at work and not giving their best to the company. Further, by one survey from Manpower, 84% of employees are looking for a new job and are ready to leap as soon as the job market turns. The costs to companies in terms of turn-over and “presenteeism” (being present at work, but not committed) are staggering.

To address these critical people issues, companies need the support and proactive assistance of talented human resources professionals.

So, how can HR become more effective and more valuable in today’s corporations?

In a podcast coordinated through Human Resources iQ, I team with Mark Herbert, an experienced executive and a consulting specializing in employee engagement, to give you “The CEO’s Guide to Bringin’ It.”

Mark and I share our thoughts on…

  1. The key roles of the human resources leader
  2. The personal attributes that human resource leaders need in order to be good business partners with the C-Suite
  3. How human resources can position themselves as trusted advisors in their companies

While obviously of great benefit to human resources and other professionals, the ideas discussed in this podcast are important for business leaders as well.

For many of us, the function of our human resources departments has only been to…

  1. Ensure compliance with the law
  2. Scan resumes for us when we are looking to hire someone
  3. Do our “dirty work” when we have to fire someone
  4. Mediate when there are people problems or employee disputes

While all these are valuable functions necessary in the business world today, we need to demand and expect more from our human resources department. In short, we need the human resource professionals’

  1. People and team-centric perspective
  2. Advice, expertise, and support to help us recruit, develop, and retain the best team
  3. Insight on our management and leadership styles’ and its effect on our people and the company culture
  4. Candid assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of our people and team.

So, click here, have a listen now or later in your car and give me your thoughts. It is well past time for all of us to have a human resources team that plays the important role it needs to play as we each develop the winning teamwork required as we build and improve our businesses.


About David Shedd

David has been a President - CEO - COO of an up to $350M group of manufacturing, distribution, specialty retail and services companies, having led 22 different businesses from turnarounds to start-ups to fast growth companies.
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