Attention HR: Managers need help

If HR wants to be in the boardroom, helping ordinary managers in ordinary departments become more efficient might be the perfect place to start
By Robert Neiman and Rudi Siddik
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 09/13/2004

Professionals in human resources could sit around, hoping to come up with that big idea that will get them to the boardroom table. That will work for about one per cent of HR people. The other 99 per cent can take a route that is less idealistic but more likely to succeed. They can help ordinary managers, in ordinary departments, become more efficient.

HR’s real value to a company comes through applying its tools, such as organization effectiveness, to less-efficient departments to help managers improve performance. Many managers feel helpless, as though external factors will always prevent them from achieving their goals, their budgets and deadlines. They don’t have enough money, they don’t have enough staff, they don’t have enough time or outside help or whatever it is they want to point a finger at. HR likely can’t give them more money, head count or resources. But HR can help managers prioritize — to focus on what their true goals are and should be.

A good HR professional can help managers look at what they’ve done right in the past, analyze those projects, identify what helped them succeed and apply what they’ve learned from past successes to present-day projects. A manager who is spinning his wheels, achieving average productivity, will almost always accept assistance from an HR professional who, rather than taking over and forcing herself on the department, simply offers her organizational effectiveness knowledge as a conduit to improved performance.