I read this quote recently, "Human resources coupled with an emphasis on technology and professionalism is the quality structure of the organization”, and it provoked several thoughts on the quality and depth of work that Human Resources provides to their respective organizations.
It goes without saying that HR is the frontline, the back-end systems support, brand ambassadors, and everything in-between. It can be tough being all things to all people: career coach, executive coach, interpreting policies, tech support, and let’s not forget—being able to expertly address the latest trends in Talent Management, Big Data and leadership based competencies.
Is it truly possible to have all of those skills in each employee in the department? It’s possible, but you often run into the “Jack of all Trades, Master of None” syndrome, where you’ve got staff who knows just enough to get by. Is that a strategic plan? I would argue that based on the size and scope of the human resource function, having expertise in specific areas brings tremendous value to the executive team, as well as the employee population.
A recent example would be when an organization decides the timing is right to invest in a new Talent Acquisition system. First and foremost, how did they come to that decision? Did an outside vendor provide that insight? Was there an issue with the current system? Do they have a current system?
When the RFP process starts, who leads that project team? IT or Marketing? Are they going to really understand the needs of the recruiting and how an Applicant Tracking System needs to map to the organizations process? When there is not an expert in HRIS and/or Talent Acquisition on staff, how does the organization know they are getting what they need? How can they effectively evaluate the efficiency of the tool? You already know the answer to that. It is very difficult to understand a product’s effectiveness when there are so many bells and whistles attached to it. It then becomes a shiny new toy you purchase that sits on the shelf and is not used. Not a good strategic plan.
There is a tremendous need for expertise in the functional areas of Human Resources and for those areas that you know you will need as your company grows and evolves.
There are basics tools that must in every toolbox, right? Be sure you have them, and don’t expect your screwdriver to be able to do all the work!
I would challenge you to look inside your HR function and look closely at that talent. Do you have the right people in the right seats? Is there opportunity for not only continuing education, but networking with experts in the areas of technology, recruiting and compensation? This is how the team sharpens its tools. If not, it’s time to make that critical hire, because you can’t afford to shelve another new shiny toy, or make a poor decision based on not having the expertise in your arsenal.