Is HR becoming more strategic?

by 01 Nov 2006

By Craig Donaldson

While many HR professionals believe they are taking an increasingly strategic approach to business, the performance of HR departments is often called into question by executive teams. HR has come in for a fair bit of constructive criticism in some past issues of Human Resources magazine. This has largely been a reflective of much research and a wide variety of commentary from hundreds of executives, managers and often HR practitioners themselves.

In this issue of Human Resources, we kick off a four-part executive roundtable series. The first roundtable in this edition includes commentary from a range of CEOs, while the second will focus on CFOs, the third will include input from COOs and the fourth will examine the perspective of CIOs. Each roundtable will put the external spotlight on the HR function, looking at issues such as business alignment, areas for improvement, common challenges for the HR function and exactly what is required from modern HR departments in order to step up to the same plate executives operate from.

In conducting the interviews for the CEO roundtable, there was a general consensus that HR has improved. Within their respective businesses, they said HR had a good grasp of some of the more important business elements and made a worthy contribution to the bottom line.

However, there is still room for improvement. Some CEOs noted that it’s not all peaches and cream for the HR profession, and there is still much work to be done. HR has had a long history in the administrative and transactional space, and some HR practitioners are still struggling to keep up with the old as well as dealing with the new.

It was encouraging to see that HR is starting to be taken seriously by some CEOs, and it is also promising to see more chief executives believing in the value of good HR. For many business-minded HR professionals, it’s considered the holy grail of work when they find a CEO who is a believer in good people and HR management.

Next fortnight we reveal what financial controllers think about HR. Watch this space.