The Purpose of HR

I hate the term “Human Resources” because it misses the point. A better name is: “Individual and Organizational Performance.” The way I see it Human Resources has only two functions: 1) Enable employees to perform at their very best; and 2) Enable managers to bring out the best in their employees. That’s it. Everything HR does either supports employees and managers at being their absolute best or gets in their way.

Great HR is a collaborative consulting role for internal customers. Anything else is just noise and static.

The best HR departments get this and focus their efforts on providing phenomenal customer service. If you’re in HR, how good is HR’s customer service at your organization? Do employees and managers feel fully supported by you? Do they feel like you are policy enforcers or do they feel that you help them understand all the pros and cons of the available choices and make the best decisions possible? Are you continually asking how each program and policy will impact the end users? Are you constantly seeking ways to improve your customers’ experience and make things simple, quick, and reasonably pleasant? Do your employees and managers enjoy contacting HR? Is every person on your HR team pleasant, knowledgeable, and solutions focused? Imagine your company was shopping for the best HR service on the planet – would they choose you?

There’s a very simple test to determine whether you provide phenomenal support or not: on the whole, do your employees and managers contact you BEFORE THE FACT to explore options, solutions, legal ramifications, and get your perspective on the situation OR are you forced to contact them AFTER EVERYTHING HAS MELTED DOWN?

At its best, HR helps companies attract, find, hire, develop, and retain great performers. It helps people make better decisions, be better leaders, and excel daily, regardless of the department they’re in. The finance department is better when the HR department is better. The sales department is better when the HR department is better. The product development department… you get the idea. Every department can exist with counterproductive HR, but they become better when HR becomes better.

So… are the individuals and the organization better off because of the HR service you provide? It’s a simple yes or no question.

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