Employers frequently say their staff are their greatest asset. The majority of businesses realise employees can create sustainable competitive advantage and shareholder value. In the not-for-profit sector, employees will make the difference in satisfying stakeholder expectations.
Yet most organisations do not have a direct HR contribution at Board level, with a clear mandate to create and maintain the workforce that will deliver better results. Surveys suggest that only around 20% of HR leaders were consulted before a merger or acquisition. The majority of these failed to deliver the projected benefits, usually because of a lack of attention to differences in the way people work and their attitudes towards their employer.
This does not represent joined up thinking. It has taken a while, but our most successful businesses and many public sector organisations now realise this must change. In a survey of the top 200 businesses in the UK, 80% said they were trying to create a more commercially focused HR team, but many were finding it difficult to achieve.
Routine administration and sound advice on policies or procedures must be handled with greater reliability and at lower cost than it is in many organisations. Outsourcing, shared services and off-shoring are increasingly providing these benefits. It has been said that “HR is dead. Long live HR”
We agree. But to simply downsize HR admin and take the savings adds little to the competitive position of the business. To us, successful HR must operate as a commercially focused business partner and be respected for programmes that are relevant and add sustainable value.
More organisations are beginning to see things this way and are asking their HR professionals to raise their game. As one Head of HR said to us recently, “I’d had sleepless nights worrying how to meet my new CEO’s expectations for a more ‘strategic’ input, until I heard about your workshops”. Recruiters in the HR field, like Frazer Jones, tell us they increasingly have to look outside HR to find high quality candidates for the more commercially focused roles their clients are creating.
As one HR Director said, commercial hr services are “…tapping into a gap in the market. In my experience a lot of HR professionals talk about being ‘commercial’ or wanting to get ‘more commercial’ but aren't really sure what it means or how to do it.”
We know what it means. We know how to do it. We are doing it.
Our vastly experienced senior consultants have successfully created business focused HR capabilities in a wide range of industries. Every company is different, which is why we don’t claim a magical solution. Our HR specialists are experts in their respective fields. Between us we can work with you to assess the obstacles to HR transformation and implement change that will bring measurable benefits.