What HR is Doing Right (But There Are Things it Could Still Do Better)

Editor’s Note: Dr. John Sullivan has been a provocateur and strategist in the field of human resources and talent management for over 30 years. His specialty is HR strategy and designing world class HR systems and tools for Fortune 200 firms, and he’s never been shy about telling it like it is.

That’s why TLNT asked him to share his thinking in a video series titled “$#*!@ Dr. John Sullivan Says!” Look for these videos twice a week here at TLNT.

Today’s topic: What is HR doing right?

When you’re trying to improve your operations, Dr. John notes, one of the first things you ask is ‘What am I doing right and what am I doing wrong?”

So, what ARE we doing right in HR?

Well, HR tends to be optimistic and positive, he says, but here are a few of the things that HR is doing well.

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  1. HR has actually gotten a “seat at the table.” Most Vice President’s for HR ARE part of their organization’s executive team.
  2. HR is well-liked — although there are a few caveats when you get into this.
  3. HR is good at building relationships.
  4. HR is generally good at recruiting.

But, when various departments in the business are asked who helps them the most to reach their goals, HR is is usually ranked fairly low.

This just goes to show, Dr. John says, that although we are doing some things right in HR, “we could do better.”

Did you miss the last segment of$#*!@ Dr. John Sullivan Says!” on “How to Craft a Smart and Thoughtful HR Strategy.” You can see it here.

John Hollon is Editor-at-Large at ERE Media and was the founding Editor of TLNT.com. A longtime newspaper, magazine, and business journal editor, John has deep roots in the talent management space. He's the former Editor of Workforce Management magazine and workforce.com, served as Editor of RecruitingDaily, and was Vice President for Content at HR technology firm Checkster. An award-winning journalist, John has written extensively about HR, talent management, leadership, and smart business practices, including for the popular Fistful of Talent blog. Contact him at johnhollon@ere.net, connect with him on LinkedIn, or follow him on Twitter @johnhollon.

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3 Comments on “What HR is Doing Right (But There Are Things it Could Still Do Better)

  1. HR not getting the recognition they earned and deserved ? Sounds like the same story with the PR department. No one really awknowledges the underdogs in the shadows. Things in a business/organization would collapse if HR wasn’t behind them making
    things easier and only those behind the scenes can really see it.

  2. Please forgive this but I have only ever met one honest and genuine HR manager and sadly he died young. Of course I’m speaking as an employee of several PLCs and not at a member of the board. Who are HR there for? Employer or employee. The dishonesty comes from this confused and misleading allegiance. The successful HR department can do both but I have never seen one.

  3. It would be wonderful if John’s points about what we’re doing well were supported by the research. Unfortunately every major study on HR comes to the opposite conclusion. The most recent piece of evidence is Boston Consulting Group’s large study on HR last year (http://www.bcg.com/documents/file61338.pdf). If you look at page 11, you’ll see there’s a significant gap between how HR executives rate HR’s capabilities compared to how non-HR executives rate them. In very few cases do non-HR executives rate those capabilities as above average. In many cases, they rate them as below average.

    I would suggest that we can best help HR by an industry-wide focus on closing those gaps. The more we turn our attention to delivering on these fundamental expectations and less towards the latest fads and HR technology, the sooner that someone other than ourselves will be congratulating us for our accomplishments.

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