The Truth Behind HR: Devil or Angel?
Bangalore: Understanding a HR is quite complicated as everybody’s opinion varies. The major question for everybody out there is who does HR actually serves, the industry or the workforce? If you've got problems with your superior or a colleague, should you go to your concerned HR or keep it to yourself? Are HR personals the awful guys or just fixed in the center with a thankless job? Does the purpose do anything for the company or is it just a compulsory expense? There are so many questions as such and you can find numerous opinions for each query in HR books, blogs and websites. One more issue is, it probable to discover an objective viewpoint on such an extremely charged and prejudiced topic?
An insight by Steve Tobak, on CBS News states “I've worked alongside dozens of top HR executives at companies big and small and I have no vested interest in the function, one way or the other. No skin in the game, no axe to grind. Here's my take on how human resource organizations really work, why these people do the things they do and how to get the most out of the relationship".
Does” Evil HR" has any truth to it?
To answer this question, Steve adds, we really can’t deny the fact that it actually has evilness but, not essentially the way you'd think and it's anything but pervasive. Like with any other executive, it depends on the person, few instances of dysfunctional HR VPs who polarized organizational teams and, believe it or not, proved destructive to the CEOs that recruited and believed them. HR head, Mary McLeod, was known for being toxic to two dissimilar companies and their CEOs: David Pottruck at Schwab and, years later, Pfizer CEO Jeff Kindler. The similarity in both the cases was McLeod's termination was followed immediately by her CEO.
HR can sometime be unfair and can play dirty games. They can very well isolate the chief executive, and can create a divided management team split by internal strife, politics, and power plays. In few companies, HR vice presidents have more power than they should have. They are more powerful and overzealous. These situations are most likely to be rare but, they do exist.
The company or the employees, who does the HR serve?
The answer for this interesting question goes like; HR executive will view her/his client or customer as the head of the business unit she's allotted to. An HR is referred as an HR’s business partner in matrix organizational structures even if the HR executive reports directly or dotted line to a divisional VP or general manager. This at times put the interests of executive management and employees views in conflict, and that also puts HR at odds with the best interests of employees. Not surprisingly, the complementary act and how staffs are treated depends as much on the capability of the executive management team and the culture they engender than specific human resource individuals.
If the CEO considers the key to the company's victory rests with its most valuable resource, its people, he'll likely to put a quality on employee expansion and engagement and set goals and ways for human resources that reflect that. There are also CEOs who don’t even visualize employees as a strategic source but more or less as anonymous, nameless, human capital. For them HR is perhaps more of an essential expenditure to be minimized. There are a lot of backbiting and internal strife "us versus them" political battles and we find dysfunctional people at the top, in the middle, and, as well as in human resources.
HR strategy is performed by individuals even if it’s seen as is top-down driven. Strong and able leaders build high-performance cultures that are built to last. Companies endeavor to create a work environment that inspires and confronts workers to execute at their best and reimburse them accordingly.
There are bell curves for all things that involve people. There will always be gladiator at one end of the curve, inexpert people at the other end, and everything in between. Ultimately, everyone's an individual and, the bigger the company, the more challenging it is to drive a consistent culture. That's the second factor behind HR behavior. It's always an individual that performs.
So, the basic fact is if we are aware of the work culture in our company and also know our HR person well, that's probably adequate information to make valuable decisions regarding how to work with them as we all know information is power, hence use it well.
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