HR needs a makeover: report

by 11 Dec 2007

Only 54 per cent of senior HR professionals report to their CEO, according to a recent Australian Human Resources Institute (AHRI) survey. It also found that nearly two-thirds of HR managers believe that business does not understand what they do and nearly half doubt whether they are seen to be effective. Furthermore, the survey of 1,378 HR managers and 438 non-HR managers found that approximately 80 per cent of non-HR respondents have little understanding of what HR does and 73 per cent see HR as ineffective. “Business says HR is a necessary strategic function, so it’s incumbent on business to embed HR appropriately,” said AHRI CEO Serge Sardo. “Individual practitioners also have a responsibility. They need first and foremost to ensure they are contemporary and united. As with many other occupational groups, HR is open to criticism but it’s also a profession full of promise and opportunity.”

Cost remains primary factor in outsourcing

Companies that outsource services purely to cut costs are likely to set themselves up for short-term gains and long-term criticisms from management, according to research from Gartner. It found that reducing cost remains one of the primary drivers for outsourcing, but placing too much emphasis on cost reduction usually leads to dissatisfaction because many savings are either unsustainable or never achieved. Any organisation considering outsourcing an IT function must first establish realistic goals that will satisfy the executive sponsors of outsourcing, as well as the best interests of the organisation, according to Linda Cohen, vice-president at Gartner. Only then can the correct scope of work and proper terms and conditions be constructed to deliver long-term value, she said. “Organisations need to take a longer term view of what an outsourcing relationship can accomplish for their operations overall.”

Shift in the executive job market

A fundamental shift is occurring in the executive employment market that will transform the way candidates find jobs and organisations attract talent, according to Andrew Staite, managing director of Staite Henningsen Klein. A new job market, dubbed ‘the gold market’ is emerging, according to Staite, which involves proactive companies hiring talented people when they become available, just to get them into the company, even if they don’t have an immediate role for them. Adapting to this new market involves a significant mindset shift for organisations, which must, according to Staite: abandon short-term headcount restrictions and realise the long-term commercial benefit of employing and immediately making the most of the best talent; welcome unsolicited expressions of interest via trusted sources; recognise that exceptional talent will not wait for a vacancy to arise; and identify interim roles for exceptional talent.

Companies still battling with internet time wasting

More than half of HR managers have had to discipline staff for time wasting on the internet and only 20 per cent are allowing access to social networking sites such as Facebook, MySpace and Bebo, according to a recent survey by Clearswift. It also found that 60 per cent of HR managers have encountered or had to discipline staff for accessing pornographic sites in the workplace, while a further 42 per cent are unfamiliar with Web 2.0 technologies such as YouTube, Facebook, and Wikipedia. The survey of more than 225 HR managers in Australia and 1,200 globally also found that in the event of a violation of the acceptable use policy, 54 per cent rely on their IT department to notify them if they believe a breach has occurred.

Candidates unclear on the right job

Far too often candidates are unhappy in their current role because they accepted an offer where the salary was higher than another vacancy, or because they wanted to move from a previous position quickly and didn’t take the time to research the range of opportunities available, according to Hays Human Resources. Others say they are finding their search unproductive or frustrating, but then admit they have been haphazardly applying for vacancies because they really don’t know what they are looking for. “The current job market is booming, with unemployment low and demand for candidates high. In such a market candidates should be able to advance their career and gain a meaningful and satisfying position related to their skills and experience,” said Nicole Isaacs, regional director of Hays Human Resources.