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If HR Stinks, Is it Because You Don't Develop Your HR Managers?

Guess what people?  The latest chart pointing out gaps between how HR views itself and how the rest of the world views us is out, courtesy of The McKinsey Quarterly Chart Focus Newsletter (hat tip to Suzanne Rumsey at Knowledge Infusion's Consultants Corner).

Before we discuss further, remember the capitalist pledge regarding studies that say HR stinks - click here if you don't recall the pledge.

The chart is pretty consistent with past studies indicating HR stinks, with line managers agreeing that HR lacks capability to develop talent strategies aligned with business objectives and that HR is not held accountable for success or failure of talent management initiatives.

Take a look and let's talk after the chart:


Suzanne Rumsey of Knowledge Infustion had a fresh thought on one of the primary challenges when it comes to closing these gaps:

"I also observe Senior HR leadership - those that are business savvy - spend so much time with the business that they sometimes may neglect their own function in two critical ways.

(The second way) HR operations are left to the upper-middle levels of HR management - Directors, Managers, etc.  These folks are left to translate and operationalize HR and Talent Management strategy for HR, but are not afforded much interaction with the business itself because that interaction is dominated by senior HR leaders and / or the Directors / Managers are overwhelmed with leading the HR function and don't have time.  Thus, a bit of a gully forms between senior HR Leadership and the rest of HR in terms of sharing business knowledge and building essential skills to better interact with the business about the business."

That's a great point.  It's one thing to talk about becoming more strategic, but in addition to ensuring the function is going upstream, do your HR leaders allow their direct reports to get the repetitions with the business owners, or are they grabbing all the oxygen for themselves?

With that in mind, I'll modify the capitalist pledge regarding studies that say HR stinks by adding the following in bold:

"The answer?  Don't be angry - be different.  Be remarkable.  Every time you hear a study like this one, start a value added project and deliver the goods.  Make people say, "you're different from other HR people I've met"... And make sure your direct reports know what to do and get the repetitions with the business as well.. whether they want the repetitions or not"

Because if they don't want the repetitions, you've got the wrong type of talent.  See you next time someone says HR stinks with the capitalist pledge...


Meg Bear

This lines up well with something else I read that says as HR focuses upward they tend to be thought of favorably in the C-suite and not so favorably from the line managers within the business.

This would support the need for next level HR practitioners being better trained. It would also highlight the need for relationship building (and adding value) with the line managers they are supporting.

A bit of a variation on this quote is how I see it:

I admire men of character and I judge character not by how men deal with their superiors, but mostly how they deal with their subordinates. And that, to me, is where you find out what the character of a man is. -Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf


Meg - great quote, and so true...

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