Management and HR need to merge in the middle, become one another and serve the customer.

No, I'm not suggesting that HR pros get MBA's or take hours of bland classroom tests about business best practices.

But I am suggesting that they learn how to run a business, to outsource the administrative and compliance minutiae, to actually apply business principles realtime, and to truly be a strategic leader along with the rest of the leadership team.

We need only to look at our family tree.

Ack, right?

Last week John Sumser wrote a post titled Revisiting Why They Hate HR, basically reliving the painful truths of the Fast Company article from five years ago titled Why We Hate HR.

Because they still exist today. Or are they really improving?

It's not all HR's fault, though. For decades running Personnel meant hiring, onboarding, handing out benefits packets, performing reviews and firing and laying off when necessary.

And are in the heart of a silo, untouched by the tendrils of strategic management and experiential learning.

Management created a big part of the us-against-them; HR was a necessary evil that fell into the general collective camp of employees, unions, etc.

I've been to many HR events where the proponents of evolving HR are working hard to, well, evolve HR into business savvy leaders -- like at HRevolution.

Two examples that merged for me this week include (which many of you may already be familiar with):

  1. Reading The Pursuit of Elegance and learning of FAVI, a 50-year-old designer and manufacturer of copper alloy automotive components in France, whose CEO disbanded much of traditional business units including centralized HR. Instead, he created twenty teams, each responsible not only for the customer -- which was/is a primary tenant -- but also for its HR, purchasing, and product development. The CEO touted himself to "be the headlights and the windshield" of the company, and each team held the vision as it applied to the customer.
  2. After listening to a recent Harvard Business Review IdeaCast with Susan Cantrell, fellow at the Accenture Institute for High Performance and coauthor of Workforce of One: Revolutionizing Talent Management Through Customization, titled How to Make HR Relevant, I learned how Best Buy empowers HR to customize salary/benefits/scheduling packages unique for each and every employee, as opposed to forcing a one-size-fits-all onto the employee population. Each employee is viewed as a business in itself serving the all important deity: the customer. Not easy to pull off, but Best Buy is doing it and more.

In both examples the HR becomes a profit center, a business driver, a business leader -- like the general collective camp of employees, unions, etc. should become -- and it's all to serve the customers who keep us all in business.

Management and HR need to merge in the middle, become one another and serve the customer.

Otherwise, you still got a whole lot of hating goin' on.

Post by Kevin W. Grossman (join me on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn - and now join HRmarketer on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn!)

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