Pros, Fauxs and CEOs

I knew the day would come when I would have to “hurt” somebody. Well, the day is here.

I read this article from Payscale on the role of HR in the company and I bristled immediately.

I am so sick of hearing the same, tired, cliché phrases from CEOs and other business leaders about what they want from HR. It’s always speak my language, be proactive, solve issues, protect me. I read or hear these things now and it’s like the teacher from Charlie Brown “Wah-wah wah-wah wah-wah-wah-wah” … Good grief.

Tell HR something it doesn’t already know – and isn’t already doing! The HR professionals I know are breaking their necks to speak the language of the business so their department is seen as adding value to the organization. The HR professionals I know are constantly looking for ways to improve the employee experience; from hiring to training to recognition, HR is looking for ways to keep employees engaged so they will remain with the company and continue to positively contribute. The HR professionals I know are looking to identify hurdles in processes to avoid inefficient or ineffective practices. And the HR professionals I know are most assuredly seeking ways to avoid pitfalls that result in costly and time-consuming litigation.

If CEOs are finding HR isn’t doing this in their organization, one of two things is happening:

  • The HR-pro is really HR-faux. Some organizations are still getting their HR reps as rejects from other areas, instead of taking the time to invest in someone who specializes in the field. A person who doesn’t have the experience and education in the HR field won’t be able to speak the language of the business or protect the company or offer suggestions on best practices for optimal operations. A company wouldn’t pull the administrative assistant or a failed manager from another department to run the Finance department, would they? Of course not! Stop doing it to HR – or recognize that you get what you pay for and stop complaining about what your HR-fauxfessional isn’t doing for your organization.


  • The CEO isn’t really committed to integrating HR principles into the strategy of the operation of the organization. CEOs and Execs at a similar level give a lot of lip-service to supporting the HR function but never really integrate it into their thinking or operating as much as they should, could or pretend they do. Like Dawn Hrdlica said in her post last week, HR is the only one forced to apologize for pushing and defending its agenda. No one is asking Finance or Operations or Marketing to fight for its seat at the table or speak the language of the business.  For those areas, their very existence speaks the language of the business and their seat at the table goes unchallenged. Until CEOs see HR in the same light, they will continue to express these same frustrations and there is little to nothing HR can do to help that.

So perhaps the answer is not for HR to speak the CEO’s language or think for the CEO or keep the CEO out of trouble. Maybe the answer is for the CEO to speak HR’s language and think like HR – then the CEOs could keep themselves out of trouble.

What do you think?






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