Keeping it simple: HR tips for partnering with the business

by Janie Smith08 May 2014
Often in corporations, managers are constantly hit by demands – financial, operational, health and safety and of course, HR.

How do you cut through that noise and establish relevance?

“When you actually cut everything back, organisations, in order to achieve objectives, only really do two things – create value and manage risk,” Crown Perth executive general manager HR Damir Kucan told HC Online.

“There is quite often a tension between the two. For example, consultants quite often come into organisations to create value, but sometimes at the expense of risk. You’ve always got those two elements in an organisation.”

If the structure of a business is a pyramid, the brand is at the top and under that is creating value. Managing risk forms the foundation of the pyramid, said Kucan.

“The reason is that managing risk can destabilise everything else you’re trying to do. There are very good examples of how badly damaged brands can be, irrespective of how much value they create. BP is a good example with the Gulf of Mexico. Irrespective of the value they were creating, that disaster and how that happened had a huge impact on the brand and potentially, the future viability of the organisation was put at risk as well.”

So where does HR fit into this business equation?

In the Crown Perth business model, understanding the company’s brand is paramount – both the customer brand and the employer brand, said Kucan.

It’s all about “establishing clarity on what our promises to our customers are and what our identity is and how the employer brand supports the customer brand”.

“When we go out to the market we attract people, we establish a relationship and as with any relationship, there’s a promise. So when one enters into a marriage, there’s a promise. If either party doesn’t deliver on the promise, you’ve got a problem.

“It’s the same in an employment relationship – what is our identity? What do we project to the market? And very importantly, do we deliver on the ground? If we don’t deliver on the ground, that’s going to have an impact across the entire organisation, both in terms of engagement and how we deliver the customer experience and of course, the Crown Perth, because we’re an integrated resort, the customer experience is everything.”

According to Kucan, HR must operate as both a business partner and a customer service provider.

“As an example, when we’re partnering with the business, then we’re working with managers to achieve organisational objectives. Where the service aspect comes in is when we have people with personal issues or problems or concerns or they need personal assistance.”

From there, it’s a matter of creating an employee experience that delivers on its promise, he said.

However, no matter how good your HR practices are, the company’s leadership and how it makes decisions will ultimately determine the culture.

“This is where the challenge for HR is because if your leadership team doesn’t value people and you have no chance of changing that around, that means you’re treading water. And if you’re treading water, that means you’ve got to make a decision whether to stay or go.”
  • Damir will give a presentation on Partnering with the Business to Keep it Simple at the Perth HR Summit, 21-22 May. Click here for more details. 


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