HR in Need of a Skill Medicine

Speaking at the convocation of a known, higher learning Institute our Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh spoke on the importance of building an ever expanding pool of human resources of the best quality. Few HR practitioners would argue with that . In fact on a daily basis, we face the issues w.r.t the shortage of qualified people or right talent for the increasingly complex businesses we serve. As more and more of our business leaders utter the familiar words our people are our most important asset, the competition for the limited talent pool available gets more and more intense.

Not enough of the right talent, no engaged talent, talent that leaves at first sight of pay raise are a few of the complaints one hears at HR Conferences around the country. Whether HR is responsible or not for these complaints is debatable but their existence is the reason we have HR functions (so why the crib? ) The fact is, that in organizations where the effectiveness of capable HR practitioners is more negative effects can be minimized. Where world class HR practitioners are let those (scary thought to many business executives) they can be turned into the NEXT competitive advantage of the 21st century . The issue is, that in many cases , HR departments themselves do not have the right talent to develop and nurture that competitive advantage.

The need for capability development for the keeper of the most important assets of your company is most often not considered or put on the backburner until further notice, or until HR can make a strong enough case for why the training budget should have a component for training HR also. Unfortunately this lead to HR practitioners who operate at a transactional level (despite the frequent cries of being a strategic partner) with out the capabilities needed to move up in he value chain and with no means of developing them. The result, HR practitioners who leave their organizations faster than the average call center worker.

The other fallout is that the organizations will not have an HR team to look up to as an example of how to develop their capabilities . This is reflected in the words of HR Head of one of our large MNC clients who says – lack of willingness and /or ability to eat your own dog food. When we demand that other functions scale up and acquire fancy competencies skills and capabilities how come we don’t do it? Also, without properly trained and qualified HR professionals how are we expecting the HR department to have the capability to effectively manage the Human Resources of an organization? The answer is as obvious as if you asked the question -would a person who can’t count make a good accountant?

It is our belief that capable practitioners will take charge of the people issues of the organization relentlessly drive it and in doing so prove his /her worth to business as the driver of business performance. An HR professionals without the proper qualifications or abilities will not be able to achieve the above motive. When we work with organizations to build their HR capabilities we start with the HR team itself.

Building an HR professional’s capabilities does not only serve to lead by example, it also creates the capabilities and abilities needed to prove the value of HR to the rest of the organization. When we identify the capabilities we look at what the business needs from HR and therefore what capabilities does HR need to build. If HR performs an activity that is not adding value of the competitive advantage of the organization then what’s the purpose of that activity? Today, the HR capability Development Frame work developed by SHRM India serves organizations to develop capabilities within their HR teams, directly linked to the competitive advantage of the organization. That it all starts with eating your own dog food, might be hard to swallow but is a fact that more and more realizing are taking care of our most important assets that can only be left to trained and certified professionals whose capabilities are aligned with business needs and outcomes. We provide that.

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