News: HR remains "messenger" rather than co-creator of corporate strategy

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A lack of involvement in devising corporate strategy means that HR continues to be the “messenger” rather the instigator, leading to a significant misalignment between employee and business objectives, according to research.

A survey among 125 HR professionals and business managers conducted at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development’s HR Software Show earlier this year revealed that a huge three quarters of HR practitioners were excluded from helping to formulate business strategy.
This meant that, rather than being consulted on setting company goals, they were mainly used to communicate them (57%).
As a result, however, the study, which was undertaken by Redshift Research on behalf of outsourcing provider plusHR, found that the objectives of a tiny one in 10 workers were totally aligned with those of the business, with more than half having aims that were only partially in tandem or not at all.
Marc Bishop, plusHR’s director of HR consulting, said: “The research highlights the endemic problems within modern corporate HR functions which, despite their best endeavours over the last decade or so, aren’t actually aligned with business when creating corporate strategy.”
Around seven out of 10 respondents felt that one of the reasons for this misalignment of personal and organisational objectives was the lack of reference made to the issue by line managers. A further 86% cited an inability by those managers to help employees understand what success looked like.
But the situation also wasn’t helped by a failure to adequately reward performance that went above and beyond the call of duty (86%) and a lack of performance-based reward mechanisms in general (30%).

About Cath Everett


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28th Aug 2012 12:19

The owner of the corporate strategy will surely start with the CEO / MD.

Given that it will be his or her job to deligate all necessary elements of this key function in order to come up with a success based strategy, then the fault for the failure of HR to get involved starts here.

If on the other hand HR is UNABLE to contribute to the strategy in a meaningful manner then perhaps there is a serious gap betwee the knowledge required of HR and the knowledge that exists.

It is my experience that HR is the people department. Targets are for managers.

Unfortunately if you keep recruiting only "people" people into HR this is what you will get.

The transformation requires a complete undestanding of the VALUES set for the business to become a success.

By setting values that allow for mistakes, then targets become a function of what success looks like and the thing(s) that HR and the people can work towards without fear of failure.

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31st Aug 2012 05:38

It seems like HR have become the punching bag for for-profit businesses to shift blame for corporate strategic failures!. Instead of the top gun taking personal accountability for making poor strategic decisions, the growing trend is to hit out at HR for "non-involvement".  

All these survey results convey one consistent news - sorry state of helplessness on the part of HR to rebut the finger pointing.

Shifting the blame on HR for business shortfalls is a sign of leadership immaturity and cowardly act. Do they blame "Finance" when the company fails to generate income or profits?. Leadership incompetency has now become HR's fault.    

It is time for business leaders to grow up on this shallow perspective of HR. Erase the exclusive "seat at the table" precondition and engage HR as a equal partner, from a position of humility, proactive and mutual respect. Don't treat HR with the kind of arrogance and distrust that is causing your talent to leave. Discard the denial and delusional modality.

Face up to the reality that it is inauthentic leadership that is driving talents out the door. Go collect your facts at the exit gate !.

If you think 'Non-People" people is what it takes to make your corporate strategy to succeed, then by all means go ahead. Perhaps, what we need now more in HR function is more IQ, strategic brilliance, number crunchers, laser focus on profits and less humanistic qualities. Better still, just move line managers into HR.            

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