Do what we do…

Nestling warm and sleepy in your company, like the asp in Cleopatra’s bosom, is a department whose employees spend 80% of their time on routine administrative tasks.

Nearly every function of this department can be performed more expertly for less by others.

Chances are its leaders are unable to describe their contribution to value-added except in trendy, unquantifiable and wanna-be terms – yet, like a serpent unaffected by its own venom, the department frequently dispenses to others advice on how to eliminate work that does not add value.

It is also an organization where the average advertised salary for professional staffers increased almost 14% last year…

I am describing your human resources department, and have a modest proposal:

Why not blow it up?

– – Thomas A. Stewart, Fortune, 1/96

Above is just an excerpt of one of my favorite articles on Human Resources value (and sometimes lack thereof.

“Let’s blow the sucker up.”

So, if the true value in organizations today is really people — and all that entails — doesn’t it make sense to drastically change HR?

For example…

1. Send payroll and benefits administration to finance. Maybe even including benefits plan design, though likely outsourced. Hell, outsource the whole enchilada.

2. Give Safety to Facilities or Maintenance or someone like that. It’s a mundane, compliance-focused commodity.

3. Teach managers to manage, and abolish any HR functional “employee relations.” This is one of the most insidious functions within human resources, and functionally torpedoes a line manager’s accountability.

4. Give legal issues and strict compliance to legal (or “law” department). Or, create an administration department, many larger organizations have them, and let this sort of administrivia reside there.

Keep talent management and compensation as core HR functions. Talent management includes key hiring, sourcing, recruitment, development, succession, etc. Then, HR folks, get good at those things necessary to create real value within your organization.

Or, we could always go back to blowin’ the sucker up…


Kevin Berchelmann

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