For the past two months there has been a running discussion in the Linked:HR group on LinkedIn regarding why more HR professionals do not have a degree or background in Business. It has been a lively discussion to say the least. However we were struck by one of the latest responses in which the member stated “HR nowadays is an organizational “warm and fuzzy” atmosphere. No need for business acumen.”
John Donne in his famous poem stated that
No man is an island, Entire of itself. Each is a piece of the continent, A part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less. As well as if a promontory were. As well as if a manor of thine own Or of thine friend’s were. Each man’s death diminishes me, For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know For whom the bell tolls, It tolls for thee.
Turn the poem around to the business community and it gains a different message. Consider this version for a moment.
“No department is an island, entire of itself. Each department is a piece of the organization. The department is less As well as if a promontory were. s well as if an organization of thine own or of thine friend’s were. Each error within the department diminishes the organization, for I am involved within the organization. Therefore send not to know for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for the department and the organization.
In the current global workplace, we can’t squander our assets nor can we afford to operate the HR function as an island.It is more than ever critical that we all become involved in the total operations of the organization. This means that HR absolutely needs to understand the financial sides of the very decisions that we make every day. I do not expect that every HR professional will be a certified accountant, but I do expect them to be able to determine what the affect of their decisions have on the organization. As part of our training programs we have created a cost of hiring worksheet which shows the financial impact of the recruiting efforts on the bottom line. If you do not look for these data points they will stay hidden and in return the organization will suffer.
The Quaker Business Model tells us that we have an obligation t look after our fellow workers. I get it that is the warn and fuzzy part of the scenario, but that does not teach us how to become part of the organizational strategies. We have to reach beyond that island we have been part of for way too long. Physics teaches us that for every action there is a reaction. So it is in the business world. If we make a decision regarding our human capital assets it will have an affect on some other part of the organization whether it is from a productivity view or a financial view. We absolutely must learn to understand all the aspects of the ecosystem we call our organization. It is assignment critical that HR understands the business side of the organization as well as the business side understands the role that HR plays in the success of the organization. We are he gatekeepers to the full utilization of the human capital assets within the organization.