The debate about HR being a strategic business partner has raged for decades with no resolution. Why is it that, unlike functions like marketing and information technology which have established themselves as indispensable to the growth and continued success of organizations, HR is still struggling for credibility even though a robust talent strategy can be a distinctive competitive advantage? When was the last time a Head of HR went on to become the CEO of a company? The examples of CMOs and CFOs who have made that transition into a CEO role abound but we would be hard-pressed to find a CHRO who has done the same.
So why has HR not made it big as yet?
- HR is still considered a support function. This is borne out by the findings of the Mannpower Group survey which concluded that 78% of the surveyed employers lacked a workforce strategy or struggled to implement one. According to the study, only 38% of the respondents regard HR as a full business partner. The PwC 2012 Annual Corporate Direct reports that more than 60 percent of board members see no value in adding board members with HR expertise.
- HR is not equipped to deal with the swift changes in the way business is done and is out of touch with the points of interface with the customer. Corporate Executive Board found that nearly nine out of 10 HR executives are critical about HR's basic effectiveness at managing people.
- HR is viewed as a cost center where ROI is difficult to track and not seen as a revenue driver that adds tangible value to the bottom line. Just 16 percent of the respondents to this survey feel that the HR function plays a key role in promoting organizational growth in their companies.
Perhaps if HR professionals are able to address these three problems the question of why has HR not made it big will be turned into how has HR made it big.