Love Lost Between Business Leaders and HR Leaders

The traditional role of HR within an organisation is often defined as “managing the employees within a company, who collectively contribute to the achievement of the company’s strategic objectives”. It is the individual people who make up an organisation and contribute to its success.  HR assists the organisation by attracting new employees, developing the skills required to meet the organisation’s goals, and ultimately creating a loyal and motivated workforce. 

It is therefore a concern to learn that a recent study from the UK’s Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), revealed that “44% of business leaders think that HR fail ‘to address the operational issues facing the organisation and 52% think that HR prioritise what matters to HR over wider organisation issues.   Just 27% of business leaders believe the HR function helps their organisation to become more flexible and agile, while a large proportion of business leaders have no opinion about HR’s contribution to the business”.

This clearly shows that HR departments need to promote their value to business leaders with facts and figures to re-ignite business leaders’ recognition of their contribution! In today’s less than tolerant business world, it is not enough for an HR department to assume that they are OK because they ‘hire and fire’ the employees that make up the business.

They need to measure and quantify their efforts and results in order to manage the expectations of today’s business leaders and ensure their rightful place within an organisation.   So how do we close the gap?  Here are a few thoughts to get the discussion going:

  • HR needs to set clear initiatives and goals in line with company objectives and ensure that business leaders agree with these at the outset. 
  • These initiatives must then be measured and results communicated.
  • HR needs to quantify their value to show that it is worth investing in the people of the organization over some other area of the business i.e. demonstrate its ROI to business leaders.
  • There must be on-going communication by a variety of different methods including regular meetings, monthly reports, and telecons in order to re-establish the connection between HR and business leaders.
  • HR needs to build their relationships with business leaders to ensure that they are ‘on their side’ and understand the valuable contribution they make in the organisation.

We feel that it’s time that both business and HR leaders respect each other’s roles and contribution and focus on opening up those lines of communication again.