The Value of Putting the "Human" Back in Human Resources

When did HR departments become almost categorically dedicated to compliance? Human Resources needs to serve the function of its name: be a resource for employees.

Liz Ryan, who does good work writing over at Forbes, ponders whether HR departments have lost their way and what it would take for them to regain their past value. Her blogging style is to provide anecdotes of her real-world experience to help prove her points. In her latest post, she details how she was somewhat unceremoniously shoehorned into an HR Manager position early in her career. At first hesitant, she realized that she was already good at what human resources should strive for:


"I saw immediately what the job of HR is: to take care of the team’s morale and to build Team Mojo. The job of HR is to keep the energy moving and to make an organization the best place to work that it can be."

Ryan is bewildered by how HR is often seen only as a compliance office. She argues that paper pushing and filling out spreadsheets doesn't fulfill the department's purpose:

"The real job of HR is down on the ground and out on the street with the team members. Our job is to listen and advise. Our job is to talk and act to make our organization an amazing, vibrant, human place to work...

If your organization is still treating HR like a compliance function, you’re missing the power that is available to you when you hire human beings to work on your team."

To Ryan, the contributions made by an effective and personnel-focused HR department are bountiful, even if they're also intangible. She references the value of her human resources team coping with the AIDS crisis in the mid-1980s and just how beneficial their work was for the company as a whole. If your HR department isn't hands-on, it's not really an HR department at all.

Read more at Forbes

Photo credit: Jirsak / Shutterstock

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