HR’s Job is to Set the Right Environment

by Frank Roche on April 19, 2011

in Management

“Directing is like washing a battleship with a Q-tip,” says Charles S. Dutton, “It’s all encompassing.”
Quoted by Dan Gross in the Philadelphia Daily News

Can you really *make* people do anything?

You can write a job manual. You can give a half-day training session about teamwork. You can subject employees to performance reviews that are little more than grade school report cards for adults. But can you really make employees do anything? (Those of you who have put people on performance improvement plans know this answer seven ways from Sunday.)

Here’s where HR can be really effective: Your job is to set the right environment. To let managers at all levels know that they’re dealing with people. They’re not “human capital.” They’re not numbers. They’re complex people with complex lives. And while simple is good, simple-minded management rubrics don’t work. When Charles S. Duttons says, “Directing is like washing a battleship with a Q-Tip,” that also applies to management. There’s a lot to be done. It’s a million little motions that wash a battleship.

Get the right people. Set the right environment. Make management better. That’s HR’s job.

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