5 Tips to boost your HR credibility
5 Tips to boost your HR credibility
Written by Dave Foxall
It’s a somewhat sad fact of life that HR is often not the most well-respected organisational function.
Perhaps it’s because of the intangibility of ‘people issues’. After all, everyone understands the contribution of IT, largely because they can hold a laptop or tablet and log in to their email every day. Likewise, they receive money and spending power (or not) from Finance. But with HR, it’s a little harder to point a finger at the ‘product’. Or, when there is a product, it’s a policy statement or a competence framework or a mandatory recruitment procedure – items that users tend to perceive as being disrupting, frustrating and just not quick enough. And so, HR’s reputation suffers.
Bridging the credibility gap
The question is, how to address that problem? How do you overcome this (usually unfair) view of HR and create an air of credibility? Try some of the following tips to get non-HR colleagues to see your true worth…
- Firstly, it’s a case of do as you would be done by
- Look for opportunities to help
- Don’t talk gibberish
- Use hard data
- Remember you’re right, now prove it
If you want to be taken seriously by somebody, take them seriously first. In other words, you want others to appreciate HR? Then show them how you appreciate their role first. In meetings and in your communications, look for opportunities to demonstrate your awareness and understanding of the wider business (i.e. whatever it is that your organisation does and the very thing that HR is there to support). Get to know how the organisation works, the day to day practicalities of profit and bottom line and understand how HR processes contribute.
If a particular team is struggling in some way (to hit their targets or KPIs, for example) look for any people issues that may be causing a problem. Try not to come across as some sort of saviour, but do offer to discuss with the team leader how a HR intervention could make their team more effective (and don’t forget to present the outcomes in terms of measurable and relevant improvements – back to KPIs!)
We know that HR jargon is a specialised and effective language all of its own enabling us to converse with precision about complicated and delicate issues; however, when talking to non-HR types (your clients) express yourself in language they understand and appreciate.
HR analytics are constantly touted as the ‘next big thing’ but when this happens several years in a row, it’s hard not to get the impression that we’re not really following through. One of the biggest reasons for a lack of HR credibility at board level is still the lack of hard evidence and statistics to back up HR’s input (back to the ‘intangible’ point again). Look at consolidating and integrating people information – training records, recruitment data, performance management results, etc. – and look at how this bigger picture might provide insights on a practical business level. This remains the biggest shift for HR in recent years and requires the addition of statistical analysis to the broader HR skillset (and quite possibly the addition of some nifty analytical software too).
HR expertise is valuable and practical but it is often distrusted because people see it as a series of ‘gut instinct’ judgements. Developments in neuroscience – the study of how the brain works – are explaining human behaviour. At a 2013 conference, CIPD Chief Exec Peter Cheese suggested that the HR profession needed to return to its roots as ‘people experts’ and that neuroscience research offered one way of supporting HR insights with a more rigorous scientific evidence base.
In reality, the battle for HR credibility is likely to be never-ending (and to be fair, IT and Finance don’t have it all their own way either) but that just goes with the territory. The key is to find and test reputation-enhancing tactics that will boost both your personal credibility and that of the overall HR function.
Inspired? Then please give us a call on 01582 714280 to see whether we can be of service to you. We’re here to help!