I recently saw an article that claimed HR’s number one job is still compliance.
Compliance? Really? I don’t think so.
The number one job for HR is alignment. It may sound like an overused word, but it’s a pretty simple idea. Your company has a strategy. The strategy is a plan for how to achieve a goal. The goal may be increased profit margin, increased revenue volume, decreased cost, or some other measure. HR supports this plan with its activities and initiatives.
All of our actions – from who we hire, who we promote, how we train our managers to coach and discipline, how we train and develop our staff, the design of our compensation and benefits programs, the policies we write and the procedures we follow, even the organization of our employee data and our filing systems – should be in some way supporting the company strategy. So no matter what we do, we should always ask ourselves one question: “How is this helping the business?”
Compliance, is of course, one part of the plan. It saves the business money. It prevents the business from being fined for non-compliance. It may even prevent the business from losing customers due to non-compliance. Of course, being able to prove compliance is just as important (you never know when that OSHA inspector will show up). That’s where a good filing system comes in. You want to be able to put your hands on important documents quickly. Thus, even the seemingly menial tasks and transactions take on strategic importance.
I suppose if you are selling applicant tracking software, you might see compliance as HR’s top priority. Yes, we have to stay on top of the documentation and make sure we are delivering the transaction services to our employees. I am afraid that if we get too caught up in transactions and filing and compliance issues, we will ultimately miss the big picture.
How would you describe the #1 job for HR?