Should HR be Accountable to Employees?

July 9, 2014 Affective LeadershipEmotional IntelligencePeer Powered PerformanceTraining  No comments


After my June presentation to our local HR group several people asked me why I was not a member.  This article from the Wall Street Journal, Companies Say No to Having an HR Department  best expresses my reticence to joining.  I have posted more than a dozen articles concerning the evolution of HR to this group.  Everything from creating more inclusive organizational designs to lessons in learning from Nobel laureate Daniel Khaneman or Sal Khan Founder of the Khan Academy and neuroscientists like John Medina.  Yet few people are willing to engage in public debate over these very serious issues. 

I personally believe as in the article Seven Things Great Employers Do (that Others Don’t) that the key to a great HR department is to hire stellar HR people who have a gift for:

  • Influencing

  • Teaching

  • Holding Executives Accountable

This Wall Street Journal article seems to reflect a belief that the separation of responsibilities between management and HR creates a gap in accountability.  I am sure that is true but who will train the managers?  Shouldn’t HR professionals be the most skilled, best coaches and most qualified teachers, conveying best practices in leadership and engagement?  The answer is not pushing more responsibility toward the top but inverting the organizations entirely.  The real bosses are those that buy the products, purchase memberships or engage the services.  This does not have to eliminate the traditional hierarchy but demands complete transparency.  It requires a culture that KNOWS we are all imperfect but are secure enough in themselves to leave pretense at the door and always strive to be more.

The lines between personal and private, board and members, owners and employees are gone forever.  Nothing is top down anymore even parenting according to Bruce Feller author of The Secrets of Happy Families.

leadership 2030Those wishing for this phase to flop will not find comfort in Leadership 2030: The six megatrends you need to understand to lead your company into the future, by Georg Vielmetter and Yvonne Sell.

Of the six megatrends I have selected just one that will pucker your parts.  Leadership in the future will involve increased personal and business-level discomfort. Leaders will have to cope with the blurring of private and public life – and they will have to forge new relationships with competitors and employees. This requires new skills and mindsets. Ego is on its way out.

Territorial tyrants and divisional deities are no longer exempt from examination.  “As connectivity-enabling technology and virtual workplaces change how people interact, leaders must engage employees across cultures and business roles through new mediums. Leaders must acquire digital wisdom, even if they lack digital knowledge.”

Barriers to communications are discouraging top performers from even submitting applications


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