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October 25, 2006

Putting a Mirror to HR

According to this research conducted by Personnel Today on the HR function - the construction, catering and hospitality industries felt the profession added value to the business, while the banking, professional services, information technology, communications and social care sectors gave a thumbs down to HR. (Link via HR Metrics Blog)
You dont need to read this to find out why. Clearly, expectations of HR in labour intensive industries vis-a-vis knowledge intensive industries are different. The former seems to be pleased with HR's ability to pay on time and organize training programs effectively, while the latter is crying out loud "Do you even understand my business"?
Read this special feature for some even more distressing results on the value of the HR function. In a nutshell, HR professionals think "absenteeism" is the biggest problem on their hand (Question: Is absenteeism a problem, or a symptom of a problem?), Line Managers think HR is best known for General Administration and offers very little value for money.
And here are some highlights I reproduce from the feature: (The italicized sentences are my top of the mind reactions)
Women rate and value HR more highly than men. Is it because whatever little people know about HR - its mostly about touchy feely stuff?

The private sector values HR more highly than the public sector. Less bureaucracy, more innovation, flexibility permissible?

The smaller the organisation, the more highly its employees value the HR function. More visibility, greater impact?

The more senior the manager, the more highly they value the HR function. HR is often accused and legitimately so, of hobnobbing with senior management only. This one had to come back to us.

The construction sector values HR much more highly than IT. A function of expectations?

What are your thoughts? I would love to hear!


  • That's a hard hitting survey! But I'd say it's well deserved. HR just has to move beyond the general administration thinking.

    I'd say start being 'strategic'- but that's such an abused term. A while back I heard a webcast by Dave Ulrich and David Creelman presented by Workforce Management on the "Return on Intangibles". I think the paradidm does well on putting into pespective how important the momentum created by culture, employee engagement and internal & external branding is.

    Here's a link to a white paper on it:

    Thatnks for sharing the survey!

    By Anonymous Astha, at Friday, 27 October, 2006  

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