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In the two decades that I have been working in HR, I have heard HR professionals regret the limited influence HR has. They often lament the absence of an HR-seat at the board table or the lack of advocacy. I have never understood this lamentation. For me HR is not a function and it’s not a matter of holding a position at a certain level. HR is a process, not a function. In principle you do not need a separate HR-function to make sure that the management of people within companies is well done.
Many people do realise that it’s the human factor that makes the difference between excellence and mediocrity, success and failure. But a company does not need a savvy HR director to put this point on the agenda of the company. In smaller companies there is no HR-function and the task is done by the owner of the company. Of course this is not a guarantee for success, just as much as having an HR-function within a company does not automatically leads to success.
It all depends on the vision of a company about the role of their people and the way this vision is implemented in day-to-day practices within a company. The link between HR and the corporate strategy is made through the creation of a leadership brand. The title of this blog could suggest that I underestimate the value of HR. I don’t think so. HR plays a fundamental role in the success of a company. The focus of HR should not be HR in itself, but rather the success of employees, managers and of the company as a whole. The success of HR is the success of the company and vice versa. Humility in combination with this focus on success is key.
* someone asked if having humble resources is a good thing. Of course I refer to the people holding an HR-function being humble.

David Ducheyne is the founder of Otolith. As a former HR and business leader he focuses now on humanising strategy execution.

One Comment

  • Johan Roels says:

    Amen! And … Not only the HR director should be Humble, the other directors as well, especially the CEO. BTW being Humble is one of the Key features for being able to live the Creative Interchange Process from tHe inside out ( cf. The Process IS the Leader)!

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