How human are your Human Resources? – Prabhash Nirbhay

2015-10-07 15.39.26There is no profit and loss account of people. People currency is not even measured by organisations. How do you in that case ensure that the most important asset of yours is protected, nurtured and appreciated?

Research has shown that the human aspect of resources within an organization contributes approximately eighty percent of the organization’s value. This implies that if people are not managed properly, the organization faces a serious threat. However great our brand, however strong our promise, at the final reckoning, it is our people and their ability and willingness to execute flawlessly that will take us to the finishing line first. We call this the Vision-Action Continuum.

The Employee is actually the easiest stakeholder to manage. Get the life cycle right and the employee will mostly be happy with HR. This essentially means employing people, developing their capacities, utilizing, maintaining and compensating their services to meet the organisations Vision.

A recent survey from the SHRM found 72% of employees rank “respectful treatment of all employees at all levels” to be the most important factor in job satisfaction. Respect has many dimensions:

  1. Communication: Do you tell your employees or do you “sell” to your employees can be the difference between another organisation and a great place to work. Communication starts with having clear expectations, goes on to justify those expectations in the context of the larger Vision, and defines the road map and the resources required to meet the Vision.
  1. Trust: Having communicated well, a great place normally takes a step back and allows people to reach unbelievable milestones. While Managers are on top of things, they are not breathing down the employee’s neck.
  1. Achievement: Everyone loves results. Success is a craving that is ignited by confidence. The organisations that instil confidence in people encourage achievement.


  1. Impact: Empowerment creates energy in the workplace. Most people want to see the impact of their actions on the organisation. If an organisation can create an empowered ecosystem, discretionary effort from employees will increase.


  1. Leadership: While people want autonomy, they also want the security of knowing that someone is in charge and will assist, in case there are issues. It is wrong to share success, but leave employees alone to deal with failures.


The Business has no time for ritualistic HR. By ritualistic HR I mean slogan shouting, fun-wielding, form submitting HR. What business wants is real people with real solutions to real business issues.

If the CEO and the HR Leader are on the same page and are able to create a simple, effective roadmap for Talent Management, the next big discovery can wait a while, while the house is put in order, accountability for managing people finds an equal mention is people’s goals and the simple truth is understood that Vision is a lofty ideal unless it is put into emotional action by people. Your people.

  1. Strategic Alignment: Does HR map HR organization strategy to the business strategy? Does HR understand larger business issues, the impact which right people, or alternatively the wrong people can have on those issues and hence is able to address real business opportunities or concerns in a real-time manner?

It is important for HR to have a thorough P&L understanding.

  1. Assertive Table Manners: Business expects HR to thump the table to be heard, in case a people issue has the potential to derail critical business goal. They do not expect soft peddling, beating around the bush kind of HR.
  1. Solid Analytics: No one in Business cares for the numbers that HR normally throws around. At least not often. Attrition numbers. Come on! If it is alarming, we are already alarmed, your post facto bar graphs are not going to worry us more. Man-days of training. If your training has had impact, why not link it to P&L. man-days indeed!

What Business needs from HR is trend spotting and building programs that help the organisation harness those trends. Company X is showing too much interest in a particular skill set. Are they onto something big that we have missed? An iPhone perhaps? Company Y has got heavily funded. Do we have at risk employees that they may poach?

  1. Curate: Businessexpects HR to curate both internal and external knowledge in a manner that it facilitates achievement. HR must be social-media savvy, be creating an employer brand, be on the lookout for ensuring fast learning and faster implementation of learning.

If the HR people can do a few of these things well, the world will be a better place. Otherwise we are destined to live with dogma where same old, same old is the order of the day.

Prabhash Nirbhay, the author is the Worker – Business Sustainability, Flipcarbon Integrated Solutions Private Limited (Co-Founder).


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