May 16, 2009

HR's redundancy

The Don't Compromise blog takes my tweet thought and makes a thought provoking post on business linkages and HR. Go ahead and read the full post, but here are some excerpts:
HR may be professional in the subject matter, but they’re as much “another department” as Accounts, or Estates, or Maintenance. Or like war reporters, at least embedded where the ‘action’ is, rather than commenting remotely. Now I’m not saying line managers should mend toilets or fix broken windows, but … how many of them use the existence of HR as a ‘get out clause’ when it comes to developing their staff?
Shouldn’t HR’s strategy be more like “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime”? Not just engaging with the business’s top management – a good thing, but there’s always the danger of a faint squeak of trumpet blowing – but with the line managers nearer the ground, enthusing them about developing and encouraging their teams?
Workloads, human nature, professional self-interest – and the reward and recognition schemes that mobilise them – won’t see Gautam’s daydream turn into reality any day soon, but it’s still an interesting thought for an HR consultant to have had.
And after all, the point of learning and development isn’t to produce as many blunt pins as possible, just the right number of sharp ones.

And the thought "HR should make itself redundant" isn't really my thought. I first heard it articulated by Dr. Udai Pareek in 1997 at the National HR Conference at XLRI Jamshedpur.