The issue of HR jargon is a real challenge, as it significantly impacts the credibility of the HR function. It has become endemic to find a maelstrom of confusing terminology that does little to improve people management practice and much to baffle managers and confuse employees, as well as damage HR’s credibility.
Unfortunately, the byproduct of too many consultants (speaking as a practicing consultant) is the temptation to develop a new definition or approach, just to differentiate, but add another layer of complexity. Really good consultants don’t need to expound confusing terminology.
Perception of the HR function
Several years ago, the Production Manager stormed into my office with the accusation, “Why are you HR people all the same?” I refrained from any defensive retaliation and asked him to explain. He explained that he was concerned that we were changing the performance appraisal format. “What was wrong with the old man?” There was a decision from head office to change the format, and clearly communication should have been better. After our discussion, I got a lasting lesson for the future. Make sure line managers can see the value in what you’re doing in HR. Ideally, involve them in the process as much as you can. The best mid-year review process I’ve ever developed was done in conjunction with a line manager and the HR team.
Recent research from Macquarie University suggests that the majority (sixty percent) of line managers truly believe and believe that the HR function limits their ability to achieve business goals. This is a shocking state of affairs! As a manager told me recently, HR only tells me what I can’t do, but what I need is some options on what I can do. The result is that HR is often seen as an administrative compliance function, rather than a strategic function.
HR still needs to build its credibility. There is a significant dichotomy in the perceptions of line managers and HR managers. and human resources issues.
Lost in translation
Many hiring managers operate in the dark, so like the person looking for their lost keys under a utility pole, not because they were lost there, but because the light is better, we focus on peripheral issues that have design flaws and are susceptible to rejection.
Perhaps a good example will better illustrate my point. All organizations should have job descriptions, since job design and assignment of responsibilities are at the heart of the organizational structure. During my involvement with various companies, I discovered a long list of possible names for essentially the same document. Some of these descriptions include: job success profile, role competency profile, job description, role expectations profile. I’m sure readers could add to the list.
It is true that there has been a shift from traditional job descriptions to a more blended approach to defining role outcomes and required competencies, but the question remains: do we really need so many different descriptions for the same thing?
There is an almost limitless level of creativity in creating new job titles, no doubt the consequences of our muddled approach to standard HR practices. Another example is the different descriptions of the human resources function. We’ve all seen the shift from Personnel to HR, but from there it’s become open season – Human Capital; People, Learning and Performance; Organizational development; People and culture: the combinations are confusing both internally and externally.
Effective ways to build credibility
The role of HR H H. It has never been more challenging as we enter this new era where HR. H H. looks like a real business partner. Only by clarifying and validating the HR role can we also identify and measure the contribution of the HR function.
HR should discourage and refrain from the temptation to change terminology for terminology’s sake, especially in terms of employee communication and discussions with managers. The flavor of the month only encourages inconsistency.
As a consultant, my first priority is to fully understand the needs and challenges of my clients, before I can give them good advice. Only by first understanding and then meeting the basic needs of the business and line managers, HR. H H. you can create and establish a solid foundation on which to build.
Let me use one final example. When you order a main course at a restaurant, you are more likely to order a tempting dessert if you were satisfied with your main meal. There is a real risk that HR will become too focused on value-added projects, which are more challenging and satisfying, rather than meeting real business needs first.
Human resources can and should create value throughout the company. There is still a lot of work to be done.