What makes finance so hot? (Editorial)

By John Hobel
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 09/13/2004

Getting a seat at the executive table alongside the heads of accounting, marketing, et al is an imperative for HR professionals. It’s not just a case of personal success, but as professor John Sullivan notes in his accompanying article on Enron, corporations ignore good HR practices at their peril.

Sullivan’s article is not meant as an indictment of HR professionals at Enron, rather it’s an examination of how numerous issues raised by Enron’s collapse are HR-related and thus the energy giant would have benefited from an HR department with control and power. And yet there are too many enterprises doing without HR input at the highest level. Instead of guiding people strategies that are fundamental to business success, HR is viewed as a function less important than other departments. Instead of defending and promoting the value of solid HR practices, maybe it’s time to challenge other business professionals about their presumed superiority.

Certainly operational heads belong at the executive table — their departments actually do the work being sold — but others seem to be looking down on HR from an undeserved pedestal.