Is top management involved in HR management?

Pilar Rojo. Director. Master in HR Management. Instituto de Empresa

20 September 2004

How can we get top-level management to support HR? Can we convince them to help with training policies, a new selection process or knowledge management system?

If it is true, as top-level management in most companies insist, that people are their most valuable asset and that they represent the greatest sustainable competitive advantage, why don’t they support initiatives proposed by Human Resources to the same extent as they do with other departments?

If top management doesn’t get involved in HR, managers in other areas won’t, either. HR managers should take the bull by the horns.

The first thing HR managers have to do is demonstrate the key competences required today, as well as those inherent to their own function. On a personal level, this includes entrepreneurial spirit, credibility, management of relations with the production line, and leadership, among others. On an organizational level, it includes knowledge of the sector, organization and evaluation - in quantitative terms - of the impact of HR management as part of the company’s strategic objectives, and finally, on business results.

It is in this last sense that I suggest HR management use focal points such as the all-round management scheme, complemented by the use of best practices, to detect what truly furnishes results for the organization and demonstrate the impact of HR management actions on the company’s activity.

Useful tools

In the Instituto de Empresa/Aedipe Centre HR Benchmarking Club, of which I am the director, we have discovered significant correlations between HR policy indicators and business performance indicators. For example, companies with high productivity per employee indicators, which can be classified as more efficient and which generate higher value in economic terms, are those which yield opposing quantitative results in certain HR management metrics, in comparison with those whose productivity is lower.

Training policy indicators, such as indices for extension, dedication and investment in training per employee, appear as the best elements for predicting corporate performance.

These analysis and quantification methods constitute an effective means for convincing top-level management of the impact of HR management on turnover, and can be expressed in the same language used by other functional departments.

To implement efficient internal marketing, HR management must become a function that is managed from an objective standpoint, and for that it must be evaluated and measured not only in qualitative, but also in quantitative terms.

If HR managers are not capable of showing top-level management that their work adds objective value, their work will not receive the top-level support it deserves, and the function of the business partner will always be limited.

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