Denis Barnard's Human Resources Podcast.

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by Denis
October 5th 2021

Over the past 12 months, there's been a lot of talk about the future of work, some of it designed to make a bigger splash, some of it ill-considered and some of it downright impractical... More

Hello, this is Denis Barnard of Green River and HR means business this time I want to talk about whether or not big business is giving the right role models for human resources. A few months ago I was invited to an online event where and I quote, I'd be able to benchmark my enterprise against industry leaders from companies such as X, Y. Z. That many more. A quick trawl through the net reveals some pretty hefty fines against X, Y and Z for some nasty infractions over the years. Do we really need to know how the HR director of a billion euro enterprise managers surrounded by staff and with huge resources to call on? Is it any surprise that banks, big consultancies and public bodies walk off year after year with these awards and yet at every big ticket HR event, there are speakers from these large enterprises talking about their success stories.

Have you ever wondered why they don't ask an HR director from a 2000 employee company how they provide their management and workforce with the right tools all on a shoestring budget. Maybe the organizers think the big is beautiful, so just how beautiful are they? Well, here's some home truths. How about these fiddling emission readings on cars to cheat consumers all approved at the highest level. Sitting on the board of a bank that goes belly up and then saying the bank's failure has nothing to do with HR, or conniving at huge payoffs of public money to fail? Broadcasting executives consistently being fined for audit irregularities and there's more than one of those in this category being fined for labeling food is organic. That most certainly wasn't just a few examples. So what am I saying here? Well, the message is actually threefold first.

All the examples I mentioned had HR directors on the main board. Oh yes. If they say they had no influence on events, what was their value? And if they say they did, they carry some of the blame whichever way up. They're toast. Secondly, big doesn't mean good. Big outfits spend a lot on PR and have to spend a lot more on damage limitation. When a wheel comes off, let's look for some leading lights away from the Ivory Towers. People who are succeeding against all odds. People like payroll folks who kept people paid throughout the pandemic and HR professionals who helped enable workers to transition to home working all under emergency conditions. And my third point is, do you bench your HR or any other functions against competitors in your sector? Just exactly what's the purpose of this is to try and prove your paying market rate or that you all need a pay rise for all, you know, you're comparing yourself with outfits who have a concealed gender or ethnic pay bias or running on the rocks due to runaway expenses.

Falling revenues have lousy business models founded on a few large clients. You're getting the picture on this. How about, instead of filling in those benchmarking surveys every quarter, paying for the results, get to understand your own business whether or not it's performing as it should and find new ways to enable the workforce to progress and the management to make better decisions in the competitive world in which we operate. I've been Denis Barnard and that's all for this time. And look forward to seeing you next time. Thank you..

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