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HR @@#%%##@@

September 24, 2010
Hangman's noose (bright)
Image by fangleman via Flickr

HR continues to be a function that is unable to find a place for itself or add strategic value. It’s really a matter of focus.

The most frequently asked question by HR professionals:

When will HR get a seat at the table?

The most frequently asked questions by CEOs in all fast growing economies:

1. How do we manage the talent gap?

2. How do we continue to be viable if the cost of talent is shooting up so rapidly?

Do you still wonder why HR doesn’t have a seat at the table?

HR Logo
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The day HR starts to ask these questions. And the day that HR comes up with answers to these questions. They’ll have that seat.

Grow up. Shape up.

HR Professionals need to realize that they are part of a business enterprise and they must FIRST understand business. Only then will they understand the strategic needs of that business and be able to respond appropriately.

I think the only way to solve this problem with HR, is to insist that an HR professional should have spent at least 5 years in an ops role before moving to HR. Problem solved.

I would like to see some change HeRe!

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. Vidhya permalink
    January 17, 2011 10:20 am


    Apologize for a very late reply, but being an HR professional myself, I am too tempted to reply back.

    What is HR/HRM/SHRM/HCM/TAM? We or so to say companies in India have to go a long way when HR pros can start doing something and can find a place in decision making. For many of us it is still a support function.

    Till few years back, if a very average person wanted to take up management course and if marketing and finance for too much to handle, then HR would have been the obvious choice.
    Were we actually giving much forethought before taking up HR as our career? Many people think it is a obvious career, wherein you can have easy and comfortable 9-6 job.
    HR is much more dynamic than that.

    I have come across very few or not requirements for HR specialists. And I have not seen many HR professionals into HR specialization with a company. It is not someone who can just manage recruitment, payroll, t&d or compensation & benefits.
    Not many of HR realize that they directly connected or responsible for achieving organizational goals.
    HR Specialization is all about Organizational development, wherein you are directly connected, responsible for organization goals. Which includes, Change management, Corporate policies and procedures, Group dynamics, Organization politics, Employee Empowerment, etc. HR cannot be and should not isolated from the other functions of organization.

    HR professionals have or forced to see only the narrow picture of the organization. There is huge gap to have broader picture and thinking from the organization’s perspective. We still talk about filling a position and not about giving a career with the organization.

    Also, we need a trend where organizations strongly motivate HR professionals to think out of box and make them move from comfort zone and start taking responsibility into the operations.

    Yes,complete thought process change is required both from HR professionals and the company before we could aim for the seat there!!

  2. November 25, 2010 4:14 am

    HR will get a seat at the table when HR Practitioners learn the business and learn to communicate. I don’t think that getting a seat “At the Table” is just a function of the company. It is also a function of the effectiveness of the HR Professional to communicate his or her thoughts effectively, showing ROI and proving a business case. Show value to your CEO in the same way that your Biz Dev, CTO, or Sales leader demonstrates it. Stereotypically, HR folks do not care for conflict and as much as they think they know the business, they don’t. Do they know the product, have they gone on sales calls, do they know the metrics? Our DNA does not focus on getting involved with conflict, they want everyone to get along. I know a few HR people who can stand up for others, but not themselves.
    If HR Professionals can move out of their comfort zone, their tolerance for conflict will increase. They will be able to “sit with the big boys’ who are comfortable with conflict.
    Not saying you need to be an Ass, just saying we need to communicate our ideas effectively, and be “OK” with a little stress.

  3. Sunil Misar permalink
    September 28, 2010 9:35 am


    You have got it right on Bull’s Eye. Yes most HR people aspire for that seat on the round Table in a hollowed Conference Room……

    However, I do not agree with you that HR Pros must dirty their hands in the Operations before they move in that coveted chair.

    My expereince is that as HR Pros we find it extremely difficult to reduce our feels to a number. If you can measure something then you can definitely improve that thing. Therefore all our sentiments, emotions, feelings and hunches can be expressed in terms of some numbers that can be seen, felt, debatred, measured and improvced. I have found this extremely difficult and when I have masterd that side….I have been battered…..

    Therefore, second aspect is to have a feel of the place and the trends…..Many a times HR pros a remain in Ivory Towers and do not spot the trends….that is where they do not make sense…..

    Therefore, we as HR Pros have miles to go before we take seat but operations……think again….

    Thanks for a wonderful debate early morning….

    Sunil Misar

  4. September 24, 2010 6:06 pm

    Spot on! Another factor is that HR is driven by age-old metrics that do not necessarily directly relevant from the business perspective. Based on your experience, what are some of the “new” metrics that HR should be focusing on?

    • gurprrietsiingh permalink*
      September 25, 2010 2:30 pm

      Thanks for the provocation, Abhi! I’ll come back to you on that one!

  5. Mihir permalink
    September 24, 2010 8:17 am

    Hello Gurpreet,

    You have mentioned it very valid point. In order to understand people issues and real business one should spend some time at operations. At the end of the day, everyone is contributing towards business goals.

    As HR rep, I think one should have following characteristics.

    1. Define what is “Right Person” for each of the position.
    2. Develop a process which will get the “Right Persons” into the organization.
    3. Recruit & Select the employees in accordance to the process.
    4. Constantly mentor these employees and see to that their job related skills are developed continuously as required by the organization.
    5. Keep them motivated towards Organizational Goal.


  6. September 24, 2010 8:13 am

    I agree with this perspective. Infact, any one who is in any way related to a business has a direct or indirect role to play in the future destiny of the organization. We also agree that a common vision across teams is what takes an organization to heights of success. Now if you add the above 2 points, it just makes sense that anybody in any function (sales, operations, or any support function such as HR) first start thinking and acting like the person steering the organization. Everything else will fall into place… most of all, a seat at the table.


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