What is Human Resources?

By S. A. Kohan

Human resources (“HR”) should be the most powerful part of an organization. So why, in reality, is its impact more often felt in a negative way?

Because human resources, unfortunately, often operates as a cloak-and-dagger society or a health-and-happiness sideshow. Those are extremes, of course, but if there is anything I have learned over the past sixteen years of working as an HR Manager and consultant for a variety of business groups, it is that HR rarely functions as it should. That’s an outrage, made only more frustrating by the fact that most leaders aren’t scrambling to fix it.

I believe, HR should be every company’s “killer app.” What could possibly be more important than who gets hired, developed, promoted, or moved out the door? Business is a game, and as with all games, the team that puts the best people on the field and gets them playing together wins. It’s that simple.

Executives need to fill HR with a special kind of hybrid: people who are part pastor (hearing all sins and complaints without recrimination) and part parent (loving and nurturing, but giving it to you straight when you’re off track).

Ideal HR professionals are Pastor-Parent type who have come up through the HR department, but more often than not, have run something during their careers, such as a factory or an office. They get the business—its inner workings, history, tensions, and the hidden hierarchies that exist in people’s minds. They are known to be relentlessly candid, even when the message is hard, and they hold confidences tight. With my insight and integrity, pastor-parents earn the trust of the organization.

The Pastor-Parent HR professionals don’t just sit around making people feel warm and fuzzy. They improve the company by overseeing a rigorous appraisal-and-evaluation system that lets every person know where he or she stands, and they monitor that system with the same intensity as a Sarbanes-Oxley compliance officer.

Copyright © 2016 Sharam Kohan. All Rights Reserved.