How do we show the value of HR?

This is a copy of the blog post I wrote for Feb 12th 2015 #NZLEAD tweet chat.

Even though it has a HR flavour the concepts discussed are relevant to L&D as well.


Recently I participated in a tweet chat #LDINSIGHT on what ways can L&D show value to the business:

This got me thinking about how we measure, evaluate, demonstrate (you can use any word you want) the value of an enabling service such as HR.

Are we consciously thinking of the measures of success prior to even contemplating a HR solution? In fact, have we even discussed the issue with the client to determine that it is a HR solution that is required?

Most organisations will have their HR department sitting outside their core business activities and so we have a scenario that goes like this.

Business: Hi HR – in our team we have a high level of unplanned leave? We have spoken to the staff and outlined our expectations on their work effort and commitment but we still have issues.

HR: Ok Business we shall look at your team’s stats and provide a report.

Business: No we want your help – what are you going to do to help us. They told me you would help me.

And so as Ken Blanchard says, the monkey has now gone from the shoulders of the business to the shoulders of HR. It is now your issue.

How can HR better equip itself to ask the right questions upfront, unpack the situation before jumping to a solution or even providing advice? Secondly, once you have agreed that there is a HR intervention required, how do you go about ensuring that you deliver value in the eyes of the business?

An effective consultancy process will help in not only ensuring HR works on the key issues and more importantly the issues that impact on business performance and outcomes but also that any solution that is put in place is properly scoped and more importantly measured for impact.

Remember, impact is in the eye of the beholder, so unless business can tell you what is the impact they are looking for (i.e. the outcome) then you cannot proceed much further. Only until you can identify and agree this in writing, can you start to focus on the next steps.

So similar to my colleagues in the UK, our question for this week’s #NZlead is in what ways can HR start to show value to the business and/or their clients?


One thought on “How do we show the value of HR?

  1. Thanks Con – the challegnes and opportunities for HR and L&D are very much the same. We all have a role to play in enabling and supporting people excellence (a ready and capable workforce), organisational excellence (excellence in execution) and strategic excellence (an adaptive culture – survuve and thrive) (Deiser, 2009, ‘Designing the smart organization’).

    We cannot afford to work, or create solutions in isolation. It doesn’t matter where the conversations starts, if we are approached for help, we should be able to have a meaningful conversation about the situation, current vs. future state, the performance gap etc. before acting as a broker for development of a holistic solution that will respond to the root causes of the problem/opportunity and genuinely enable performance.

    The broker role seems to be a big challenge for many in larger functions/organisations I speak with. It is easy to be a consultant when I can work by myself, but how do I engage others and support my stakeholder to get the right solution. Apart from the mindset, HR/L&D/OD teams need to consider capabilities (functional vs. individual) and the operating model that will support performance consulting and business partnering in practice.


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