Home' HR Monthly : March 2016 Contents 8
I always enjoy reading commentary from professional
people other than HR practitioners that allude to the
positive difference that HR can make to an organisation.
One such article appeared in the Sydney Morning
Herald towards the end of last year, authored by Josh
Bornstein, the head of employment law and a board
member at Maurice Blackburn lawyers.
In the course of the article Mr Bornstein observed
that human resources managers "are the vanguard of
workplace change" and that "the human resources
department has the ability to make enormously positive
change in an organisation".
He added that HR can also "assist managers, often
promoted for reasons other than their management
capability, to develop crucial people-management
skills and help ensure an organisation can conduct hard
conversations with staff without alienating or insulting
people's sensibilities". His view was that "we conceive of
HR managers as arbiters of fairness and decency".
Sentiments such as these come from a good place
and are music to my ears. But they rarely come
unconditionally, and so it was with Bornstein.
He obser ved, for example, that "invariably
we are disappointed with our HR managers
because they don't live up to our
expectations", but also asked the question:
"Why do we have such high expectations of
them in the first place?"
In answer, he mentioned workplaces that
promise ethics and transparency, and
that don't tolerate poor behaviour
such as bullying and discrimination.
And he credits the genesis of those
expectations to HR.
Yet he finds himself asking where
the head of HR was at David Jones
when the CEO was alleged to have
engaged in sexual harassment, and
where was HR when low-level office
employees at 7-Eleven were being told
by their managers not to raise awkward
questions about visa abnormalities and
systemic underpayment of employees.
Could HR be forgiven, he asks, for
hiding under the table? He believes
the answer is yes. They can be forgiven because, like
any other employee, HR will "usually do what the CEO
or another senior manager allows them to do", and "the
best we can probably hope for from our HR departments
is they're enlightened, civil and honest".
While I can see generosity in that summation, I am
reluctant to settle for a concession of that magnitude.
The HR certification initiative we put in place last
year through the AHRI Practising Certification Program
(APC) makes demands on candidates that attest to
their theoretical expertise, but also to their capacity in
practice to be credible, professional and courageous.
If they only do what they are "allowed to do", to that
extent they have not succeeded in becoming partners
in the business. Certified HR practitioners need to show
that they are capable of being collaborative, influential,
future oriented and solutions driven.
HR business partners who can demonstrate those
qualities do not take sides. HR's role is to work towards
achieving solutions that are best for the whole
organisation. That can only be possible if the
chief human resources officer (CHRO) has
already won the confidence of the CEO and the
CFO, as business advisers like Ram Charan
argue. HR's professional duty is to speak
the truth on the basis of evidence for the
good of the organisation. That can only be
done in collaboration, using influence and
sometimes requiring courage. It is
not so different from the qualities
a CFO is required to exercise
when challenging a direction that
amounts to cooking the books.
On that note, I am happy to inform
you that AHRI recently signed a
co-operation agreement with CPA
recognises the alignment between
We shouldn't delude ourselves
complex role that requires a sound
basis in science, but is also an art
that requires a touch of magic.
Chief executive officer
AHRI members now have
access to getAbstract, a
member-only free online
ser vice offering summaries
to a wide range of business
book titles, economic reports
and TED talks. Members will
enjoy unlimited access to
the online library, browse
through suggested titles
and view the most trending
titles across the world. The
library offers thousands of
summaries of the latest,
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compressed in short pages.
Each edition includes a
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Create your online account
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What a difference a
quotation can make. It
may seem a bit naff, but a
virtuous quote at the end
of your email acts as a
moral shield, making you
less likely to be a target
for unethical behaviour
or scamming. In research
drawn from several
countries, Sreedhari Desai
found that neutral quotes
or email signatures without
any quotes made people
more vulnerable to shady
deals. Only one caveat, the
feel-good sign-off doesn't
appear to work in Australia.
NEW BENEFIT FOR
CREDIT IS DUE
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