We believe that in any business or organisation that is serious about performance, HR plays a key role in winning and how that winning takes place. Pretty much every organisation delivers its success through people – working individually or in teams and certainly within a culture.
The truth of this is surely self-evident. Individuals or teams who don’t know how to perform at the top end of their ability or have to do so in cultures that make high performance hard to deliver, don’t deliver consistently great results and adversely impact health and wellbeing.
HR is the function best placed to lead on this because it’s where the people expertise resides. Part of the challenge here is that areas like Finance are seen as professions where subject matter expertise is a key currency for respect. When it comes to people, everyone has an opinion and seem to believe that their opinion is as valid as the experts. Finance wouldn’t tolerate that shit and rightly so.
While it might not always be measurable like concepts that lend themselves readily to maths – like profit, loss and ROI – human performance success is quantifiable and real. HR has the data, the evidence and the research – and it deserves respect if you’re serious about winning on performance as well as winning on results. HR has joined the ROI game to an extent that’s really unhelpful for everyone, including HR. As a result, HR is playing by rules that weren’t designed for it. We believe it has to mark out its professional and ethical territory more clearly, unapologetically and with confidence.
We believe if that other functions show their worth by focusing on the target, HR shows its worth by focusing on equipping your archers so they are brilliantly ready to hit the target, consistently, sustainably and healthily. Healthy people = healthy profits.
We believe that being people focused is anything but “soft”. Getting the people performance stuff right isn’t always easy. It involves getting the most out of complex human beings with messy things like thoughts and feelings. Now wonder other functions often shy away from it. HR at its best is not pink, soft or fluffy – it’s one of the hardest jobs around.
We believe that HR is not about fixing problems or making sure people aren’t under-performing. We believe it has to be about maximising the talent that has been assembled. In high performance organisations, there are 3 phases to talent; talent ID, talent acquisition and talent fulfilment. HR is key to all 3 and the third of them matters the most.
For too long, the function has become associated with making people feel happier or “fixing” underperformance, rather than driving high performance and fulfilling talent to deliver competitive advantage. As a result, the function is seen as remedial, not deliverers of massive added value. We believe that must change.
We believe the name is a problem. Us humans are not simply resources – we are the very lifeblood of any high performance organisation. We believe HR would be better named HP. Not because it’s saucy, but because it’s all about Human Performance.
We believe the obsession with measurement has driven a desire for the “best” “scientific” tools, many of which have questionable underpinnings, were designed for things not people and are culturally prejudicial. Some flirt with being all three. There’s a credibility and relevance issue here and that’s massive when it comes to getting love, respect or both. We believe that has to change and HR must play by the rules that are effective for human performance, not compliant for other agendas.
We believe HR should be explicitly anti-racist, so it represents those who are unable to truly fulfil their talent potential because the tests weren’t made for them or they have to contort themselves every day because they feel unable to show who they are.
We believe that many difficult questions aimed towards HR, like working from home policies, should be answered through the question “will this help deliver the performance that will maximise our chances of sustainably getting the result?; in high performance organisations, that’s the only answer that matters.
The business of HR matters. But it doesn’t currently matter enough.