Human Resources: You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby

If this tagline rings a bell, it should be no surprise. An extremely popular advertising campaign in the 60s, 70s, and 80s, it was the “Just Do It” of its day. For over 20 years, the Virginia Slims slogan was used to convince women that the road to female empowerment was paved with specially-designed lady cigarettes. “Virginia Slims is the only slim cigarette made just for women. They’re tailored slim to fit your hands and your lips.”

In hindsight, it sounds ridiculous. It’s obvious that equality isn’t about cigarettes, and we all know that smoking is an unhealthy habit regardless of gender. In today’s world, this once compelling message just doesn’t makes sense.

In other words, we’ve come a long way.

Marketing isn’t the only business function that’s changed significantly over the years. HR has made a dramatic transition as well. Once upon a time, Human Resources was primarily viewed as an administrative function. Pushing paperwork was the order of the day for the ladies in HR. Things like long term business goals, strategy, and profitability were left to the boys in the corner offices.

But once again, times have changed.

Today’s HR professionals are a different breed. And nobody’s calling them baby. Because that would be an HR (and PR) nightmare.

The most effective HR departments aren’t just there to process new hire and termination paperwork or get people signed up for employee benefits. Yes, these are still important functions, but they are now being considered within the context of the organization’s strategic goals and vision. To do this effectively requires asking some big questions.

  • What is our true purpose?
  • Who do we need on our team to help us accomplish our vision?
  • How can we align our hiring and onboarding processes with our goals and values?
  • Are we building a company culture that inspires people and makes them want to stay?
  • How can we use our employee benefits as a tool to attract and retain quality employees?
  • What technologies do we need to equip our business to work more efficiently and streamline resource consumption?

Answer these questions without key Human Resources people in the room and you’ll be missing out on some extremely valuable input.

The time to keep HR on the sidelines has passed

HR needs to have seat at the table when these critical business issues are being hammered out. If you’re not including them, you’re not going to benefit from the vast depth of knowledge and expertise they can provide.

Your Human Resources team has their collective fingers on the pulse of your organization. If your business is unhealthy, you can bet they’re aware of it. Often before anyone else. If employee engagement is off the charts in either direction, there’s a very good chance they can tell you why.

Taking advantage of this hard-earned insider knowledge will help you make better business decisions, and execute them in a more effective way. If you’ve been thinking of your HR team as an administrative body, it’s time to look at them in a new light.

Reap the benefits of integrated HR

Your Human Resources team can provide key insights and feedback to help you develop strategies to move your organization toward achieving its long term goals and vision.

A good HR team can help you:

  • Identify organizational pain points for employees
  • Streamline company workflows, technology, and policies
  • Analyze your human capital resources through workforce planning
  • Define an ideal employee profile and recruiting strategies to support it
  • Create hiring practices that reflect your organizational mission and culture
  • Pinpoint high potential employees and create career development opportunities
  • Assess compensation structures to make sure they are promoting retention and equality
  • Design an employee benefits strategy to help reduce organizational overhead and increase employee health and satisfaction

And yet, far too many companies aren’t taking advantage of the value they have in this regard. Instead of pulling HR into important meetings, they are merely delegating the resulting work and tasks. This isn’t the way to build a better business. This is the way to get more of the same. Or worse yet, less of the same.

Relegating your HR professionals to an administrative role is the equivalent of offering them skinny cigarettes. It’s just not healthy.

Human Resources has come a long way. Is it time for you to catch up?


Image from an article by FlashBak