NO SHRM. HR is Business
There is NO Strategic HRM. HR is Business. Many HR leaders in the past and some strategy Gurus have been promoting the importance of Strategic HRM. Dave Ulrich has rightly been championing HR. In early eighties technology has given strategic advantage. Those who had access to technology could buy things, manufacture quality products, get quality advantage, quantity advantage and cost advantage and monopolized the market. In those days strategy focus was on technology. After some time when there is shortage of funds money and sources of raising funds, cost of funds etc. became strategic variables. At some points of time systems became strategic variables - SAP, ISO, Kaizen, quality systems ruled the corporate world. Post nineties as the world got into an Internet world and as National boundaries perished and information was available in plenty the strategic value of most of the variables started diminishing and the value of talent started increasing. Corporations started looking for talented people. Talent identification, sourcing, multiplication, management (getting the best out of the talent so recruited, value creating HR policies etc.) became strategic variables. Thus came the HR as strategic partner and SHRM. The movement has been right.
Today we are at a situation that Talent is being valued. There is a talent shortage across the world. An Industrialist once asked me, ‘Professor I have 3000 crores to invest. I have run out of ideas in terms of business. I want you to get me thirty people who have ideas and who can be future Dhirubhai Ambanis. I would like to invest on them than in the share market or in setting up new industries. Even if five of them turn out to be Ambani’s I have succeeded in creating wealth for myself and others. Please search in IIMs, IITs or wherever you like and get me thirty of them”. Our search yielded not one of them. A few we have come across aid to us, if I have ideas I will do it myself. There is no dearth for financing people why do I go to some one else.?
Many HR people realize what an opportunity they got. All HR people need to learn entrepreneurship and enhance their entrepreneurial talent. Any on who is managing people is a HR person. Some of the CEOs to day are the best HR people. Most HR people to day only carry designations of HR and what they do is transportation management, recruitment management, benefit management, public relations management. You only need to examine how they spend their time. Some of the so called HR leaders from the HR field are busy giving seminars on HR Leadership, or retention management, or on Talent management etc. and spend little time doing business. This is what I calla s HRPRs. They use HR to do public relations for their companies and for them selves call this as Brand management.
Another set of HR professionals whoa re working on managing recruitment the only thing they manage is recruitment agencies. They spend their time identifying the recruitment consultants and negotiating terms with them and showing a cost advantage to the company. They have no time to focus on real recruitment issues by analyzing the kind of people they recruited and how they are working. Their measure of efficiency stops with the timely recruitment indicators and do not get up to the nature of recruitments, and number retained, how the new recruiters have added value etc. A third set of HR people are busy making the lives of the line mangers easy by supplying them timely transportation, visas, ration cards, gymnasia, cafeterias of choice, studying their food preferences and ensuring the availability of the right menus, managing holiday homes etc. All these are very powerful HR people as without HRPR the CEO and his company does not get visibility, The Recruiter provides the engine to rune and the administrator provides fuel for the engine to run. They ignore that each one of them is only looking at small part and today they have opportunity to run the business they are busy assisting the owner to set directions when talent is available, ensuring that all parts work efficiently, service the engine periodically, identify new routes where the passengers in the bus can explore and benefit the organization etc.
Today is the most opportune time for HR to do business. They only need to see themselves as partners in business and business leaders than as mere HR leaders. They should redefine their roles in broader terms and not get too bocked down with operational issues. Not all of them at least. If you do that you will realize that HR is business. How can business exist with out people. HR is people and people is business. Business is value edition in so many forms. You will realize when you put yourself in the driver’s seat. HR people should realize this and uplift their skills. First thing all of them should do is to realize that they cannot do any HR without knowing the business and getting involved in business. They should become strategy thinkers, marketing experts, finance savvy etc. Otherwise soon the HR roles will be taken over by other business savvy people. Already organizations have begun to put finance people, marketing people and purchase people in charge of HR and Hr will lose whatever little they have. Professional bodies like the NHRDN should focus their attention on making HR as business and not s strategy or strategic partner etc. We have crossed that era.
T V Rao