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What’s Right with HR?

What’s Right with HR?

by Frank Roche on July 20, 2009

in KnowHR

What’s Right with HR?

A lot. The problem is, you never see it. Because Great HR is invisible.

Great HR happens every day in companies – and it’s not just HR people who are making it happen. You know great HR is happening when managers inspire trust by being honest and credible and fulfilling their commitments. It is happening when a company’s goals are clear and strategies are solid and well communicated and progress is measurable. It is happening when employees delight customers and when managers deliver sustained great performance. It is happening when companies make money for their owners and give back to their communities.

It is also happening when companies make tough, wrenching decisions. Let’s face it, it is easy to criticize corporate America for layoffs. And some of the criticism is justified, I’m sure. But great HR means getting managers to find the courage to make the right decisions – to shut down under performing businesses or projects that are wasting shareholder’s assets. And great HR happens when talented people in those businesses – the people doing the work, with skills that are valued – are moved to bigger, better jobs in other parts of the company.

Great HR also happens when the process for deciding who has to be let go is fair and thoughtful and above all, humane. Great HR happens when people who are laid off actually thank the HR staff involved for making the situation as bearable as possible. Severance payments help, of course, as does subsidized medical coverage and outplacement services. But what differentiates great HR is the ability to treat employees with dignity and respect, to do everything possible to handle the end of the relationship with professionalism and humanity.

Great HR is invisible. And that speaks volumes about great HR people.

Next: Great HR people: who are they? What makes them tick?

This article was written by a real, live senior HR executive in a company that all of you know. Because great HR is invisible, I’ve let the person write this article anonymously. Those of you who in are HR and have to deal with internal lawyers and PR people will understand. Q.E.D. –Frank Roche

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