When hiring for a specific role, it's easy to fixate on finding the perfect person. Someone who can pay attention to the details, while navigating complex relationships. Someone who can manage projects at a quick pace, while taking time to make difficult decisions. Someone who just doesn't exist. A unicorn, if you will.
And what happens when you have to hire for human resources? Leaders can talk themselves into the need for the perfect HR unicorn. Job descriptions can list the ability to lead change, focus on business strategy, all while keeping the company out of trouble.
Eventually, leaders realize there isn’t a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, but rather a steaming pile of frustration. They end up disappointed in the person they hire—and the HR function in general.
In my experience, avoiding this frustration involves taking a magnifying glass to three core areas of the HR function, and understanding what leaders need, will own, and where they need help.
In order to create a high performing culture, organizations must have a strategy that includes building trust, allowing for and modeling empowerment, and creating many channels for feedback, among other drivers of high performance.
I often see leaders struggling to fill HR roles, because they think they can simply hand over the strategy function to HR. But what they don’t understand is that all leaders must be involved in the strategy. Focusing on strategy is a vital part of a leader's role. You hire HR to ensure the strategy is moving forward, not to take it off your plate.
Human resources also has an integral role in enabling the strategy. Most commonly, HR can support by creating a "value chain" within your people strategy, which focuses on the five phases of your employee lifecycle.
Leaders play the part of ensuring these activities match your brand and link together. HR is there to ensure initiatives are executed so the employee experience lives up to expectations.
The Goal Keeper
All organizations should have rules and processes to protect themselves and their employees. HR has historically played this role since the introduction of the term "personnel."
Having a goal keeper is important for all organizations; however, leaders are finding new ways to address personnel issues, allowing HR to step up and out of the day-to-day burden to be better enablers and strategists. Outsourcing and introducing technology services are becoming more popular to help leaders, their organizations, and their people.
HR doesn't have to be a painful mystery to solve. Think through the needs of your organization so you can focus on the role HR plays in helping move your business—and culture—forward.