The many faces of HR

HR Pic

If you have ever worked closely with me it is unlikely to come as a surprise to hear that I am passionate about HR… Passionate about what the profession can do to impact the performance and success of an organisation but also passionate about what HR so often fails to be.  I have met some exceptional HR professionals in my career but unfortunately I have also met those who limit their potential and contribution by taking a narrow view of the role they are meant to play.  There is no question that the vast majority of HR people I have met are well intentioned and have a sincere desire to make a positive difference; however many adopt an approach that conflicts with their ability to meet objectives.

Fundamentally the role of HR is to influence business success by supporting leaders to build and leverage the full potential of their people.  With a strong focus on business performance it is also HR’s role to ensure appropriate governance and controls are in place to safe guard the organisation against risk.  HR influences success by providing the expertise, systems, policies, programs and coaching needed to enable people leaders to be effective.  Over the years I have observed HR operating in one of the four distinct camps described below.  The business advisor role is possible when we blend the focus and contribution of the first three – then we are likely to see a significant return on the investment organisations make in the HR function.

I have listed here the most common attributes of each approach to Human Resource Management. I’d love to hear your views of the approach that has enabled HR success in your business.

The role of HR

(c) Karen Gately, 2012


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