What does a great Human Resources department do differently?

Our people are our main competitive advantage. They’re also the most valuable asset we have. Give me a crown for every mention and I’m a millionaire in a few months. And yet, if we treated finance the same way we treat our employees, many companies wouldn’t see another day. So I don’t think the secret’s in that phrase. So what does a great HR department do differently to benefit the organization and help it achieve its shared goals?

Anyone who occasionally goes to see how they do it elsewhere knows the feeling very well. How refreshing it is to come into a company where you can clearly see that people are passionate about what they do. And that that enthusiasm and passion for the cause isn’t just an act. They love their work and are proud of their results and aren’t afraid to talk about them. They talk nicely about all the products the company offers. They aren’t even afraid to talk about what went wrong and how they learned from it for the future. They usually talk about how they have a good team at work. And finally, they even mention that they have a good human resources department. It’s just, how do you ensure that in our company, right?

Having a great HR department, you can see that immediately in the company. Just look on the Internet, what’s being said on Facebook or Twitter. You can see right away that the people in the company are proud of the results. They know the products and can convince their friends that they have found the right job. They are simply proud of how well and fairly people are treated in the organization.

It’s just that, in the reality of everyday life, Human Resources usually doesn’t have the best reputation. Managers often accuse us of not understanding their business and failing to recognize what the real priorities are to address. That we often pick a silly one and manage to dissect and dissect it until we poison everyone around us. And in turn, employees say HR isn’t there for them and deal with bullshit instead of how the company works.

There is a lot of bitching about the HR department, often quite justified. It’s the source of many wrongs in the eyes of employees. It is the one that represents all the crazy ideas of management to deprive employees of additional benefits and security. And from management’s point of view, we usually misunderstand the assignment, the wishes and generally come up short. We’re behind and we don’t know what’s going on in the company. And when we do understand, we act like it doesn’t concern us.

Of course, end of crying - so what makes a great HR department compared to others:

  • It sees itself as a business and a value-added service;
  • understands the corporate strategy and implements it;
  • has pride and is not afraid to do the right thing;
  • is among and with people.

Sees HR as both a business and a service

We HR people often forget that the company is there to make money for its owners in the first place. It’s not just about being nice to each other, valuing each other, and espousing shared values. It’s just a way of being able to deliver results and value to owners in a consistent and sustainable way. In the end, it’s all about whether you can put money on the table nicely at the end of the year. And that’s what the vast majority of HR pros struggle with.

I read somewhere an important lesson for every HR pro. He should be able to read the scorecard and understand what it says. He should also be able to set, modify and stick to a budget. And to do that, understand how a particular company makes its profit. It’s not much, but it’s not easy. A lot of people in HR are frankly terrified of finance, which is why HR is often out of the mainstream and out of the action. Because it doesn’t do business with others. In this case, it only delivers services.

Moreover, a great HR department is recognized when the company is not doing well. Because then it is quickly verified if it is business-oriented HR or just a service unit for others. HR tends to get lost in the fog when it comes to meeting critically important company goals. Suddenly, we can’t decide because we’re not doing our profession as a business. We do it because we are passionate and want to contribute to the good atmosphere in the company. Then we can’t make a surgically precise intervention that hurts but helps the company as a whole.

A really good HR department looks at their job as a real business. That HR stands up and can say, for the critical things, we’ll take this one. It’s about shared responsibility with others, even if it’s not purely an agenda for the HR team. That HR feels that some things are important to the company and then they can just push things through the company that are not just purely about people.

Sure, it’s hard, but it’s the only way HR can build respect and a good name. Of course, ask marketing how much brand and reputation matter, right?

After all, we’re supposed to act as ambassadors for change, but we often don’t make any changes in our own processes and procedures. A great HR department is constantly looking to see if it is working effectively and supporting the business. And they’re not afraid to cut and cause a little temporary pain. It’s not afraid of change being seen as too complex and it’s also sure to meet resistance from some employees. It’s just that, what beneficial change doesn’t meet resistance? Whether it is overt or covert?

Understands the company strategy and implements it

Corporate strategy and its reflection into HR is a common stumbling block. Not only in our company, but everywhere in the world. Just type “HR strategy” into Google and hundreds of documents similar to each other come up. Those companies and organizations are even not afraid and not ashamed to publish their HR strategies. And how similar all these strategies are in the end. None have emotion and heart. They are technocratic essays lying at the bottom of drawers. And yet a large team must have worked on them. In the end, it’s about how well HR understands what the company wants and where it’s going. Because understanding what the company needs is what makes an HR department great. Because it then addresses the things that are important to the organization.

Such a department will never carve out just one part of its agenda to focus on. Unfortunately, I often see people around here who have chosen, for example, only recruitment. Or better yet, a good brand reputation in the job market. Sure, it’s important, but what happens when you join that company? How does he or she like the confrontation with the reality of everyday life in the office?

An HR team that wants to move their company forward analyzes the company strategy and identifies the key areas that will have the greatest positive impact on company results. These become critical priorities. Most importantly, they have to fit together somehow to play a nice gig. Not just externally, but also internally.

So he has clarity on what will be the uniqueness of the company and how its HR will differ from others in the market. What it will advertise and what it will communicate to employees. If only to make them rightfully proud of their work. Because with pride in our hearts, we overcome obstacles much better.

Not afraid to do the right thing

The worst thing is when the HR department is intimidated and afraid to voice their own opinion. It then never makes its own policy but blindly follows what it is told. It doesn’t want to make enemies and ends up being everyone’s enemy. For everyone knows that it will collaborate with anyone who just shows some more fundamental strength.

An excellent human resource management department can define its priorities, procedures and policies. And then it can stick to them in every situation to show that it will not bend over backwards at the first or second shout. It’s not about defending itself with the Labour Code in hand. It’s knowing how to defend and push for things based on clearly stated company values.

Great HR knows how to build allies. Not just on the basis of small favours, especially on the basis of mutual trust, because only such a bond will last even in bad times. Support and hold, that’s often a thankless role for a really good HR professional.

Such a department also has no hidden agenda. It’s not a place where backstabbing of employees and managers is baked in. It operates openly, processes, procedures and decisions easily pass internal audit without losing the flower.

It is with people and among people

Human Resources is a department about the people in the company. And it often forgets that it should be with them first and foremost. It’s locked away in its offices, afraid to go out among others because, after all, it can be dangerous. They would still want something, ask questions and maybe even have an idea. As an improvement.

Conversely, a good HR professional isn’t at their desk very often. Rather, he’s where the employees are so he can spend as much time with them as possible. And he can work with what he finds. No HR is wise enough to implement the right things perfectly the first time. It’s about continuous development. And that’s why feedback is important.

At the same time, such a pro can also justify why the company or HR decided on a certain direction. They can stand up in front of people as a true change agent and explain why a decision was made that hurts a little. He can stand behind that decision.

On the other hand, great HR listens and acts as an employee advocate. There are moments when managers tend to short-circuit and HR has to be the one actor to calm everyone down in that moment. Because nothing eats as hot as it cooks.