There's no doubt that HR has a large impact on an organization, but can it really make or break an organization?
In order to determine how HR strategy makes an organization successful, we must first define success. Merriam-Webster dictionary defines success as "favorable or desired outcome; also: the attainment of wealth, favor, or [fame]."1
We live in a short-sighted society that measures the success of an organization based on its net profits. This has reduced life to a quarter-to-quarter event with companies coming up with creative ways to restructure corporate assets in an effort to appear "successful" on paper. Major corporations such as Quest, Enron, WorldCom and IBM have been publicly outed for "financial engineering" of quarterly financial reports. If this is your definition of success, then HR really has no impact on an organizations success. But is this the best way to measure success?
What if, on the other hand, we measured success by achieving a desired outcome? If an organization has a mission, vision, strategy and goals (MVSG), then we can define and measure success based on an organizations ability to achieve its MVSG. HR has a very clear role in this definition. HR professionals must ensure their strategy aligns with the organization's larger purpose, and this begins with thinking long before doing.
HR's purpose is harnessing human potential
You may think this this new method of thinking is incorrect but stick with me and keep an open mind.
Many HR professionals are hindered by maintaining the antiquated notion that HR's function is employee service. I have seen organizations that refer to their HR department as the Employee Service department. This method of thinking is flawed.
Don't get me wrong, organizations must take care of their employees and this is a task of the HR department, but it is not the main function. The purpose of HR is to leverage human potential on behalf of the organization so that the organization can achieve its MVSG.
Every employee's job description should end this same way…"so that the organization can achieve its MVSG." This should be the focus of every executive, department, employee and process in an organization. When this is the case, everyone is on the same team with the same goal in mind, and teammates are there to support each other.
Position and Structure of HR
HR responsibilities can be divided into three categories: individual, organizational, and career development.
Individual management entails helping employees identify their strengths and weaknesses; correct their shortcomings; and make their best contribution to the organization. This is accomplished through performance reviews, training, and testing.
Organizational development focuses on fostering a successful system that maximizes human potential as part of larger business strategies.
Career development entails matching individuals with suitable jobs and career paths within the organization and providing
I'd love to hear your thoughts on HR's role in organizational success and this new organization first view of HR. Leave your comments below.