Why is HR still not getting the respect it deserves?

first_imgRelated posts:No related photos. Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. Although HR practitioners believe their role is becomingmore important and they want to stay in the department, many feel the functiondoes not get enough respect. Phil Boucher reports on a survey that details thestate of the HR professionThe profession is confident that HR will have an important role to play inthe future, but there are still concerns over the lack of respect it receivesfrom other parts of the business. Over 85 per cent of HR managers believe that HR will be vital to thecontinued success of their organisation. This vote of confidence in HR comes from one of the largest surveys of theprofession’s characteristics and opinions ever. The State of the Profession Survey carried out by Personnel Today and thenew web-based information service XpertHR canvassed the views of 3,160 HRmanagers throughout the UK. The research has unearthed the real issues and standards in HR and predictswhere it will be in the future. The message is positive. Over three-quarters of respondents believe HRalready has a strategic business focus and acts as an internal consultant andenabler, and a similar proportion maintain that HR has a greater overall rolethan in did five years ago. But just a quarter agree that HR is respected by other managers, is seen asa key function by senior management, or has strong input at board level. Most respondents felt the profession has a long way to go before it canclaim to be an equal business partner. Eighty-five per cent agree the profession “struggles to get a voice atthe highest level in organisations”. A similar number admit that it is”often overlooked by executives”. Discrepancy Commenting on the findings, David Shepherd, editor of XpertHR, said,”There is a huge discrepancy between what HR professionals think of theirrole and how other managers in the organisation see it. “HR is increasingly becoming strategic and capable, but it has so farfailed to convince general managers of the value it can contribute.” Many people in business have an outdated view of HR, Shepherd explained. Asthe business environment has changed, HR has become more important. He said, “HR has become more significant over the years – partlybecause of the huge amount of employment legislation that’s come into place. “Often HR people have to say, ‘You can’t do that’ to someone because itwould be breaking the law. In a sense, HR is now the internal policeman withinan organisation and is often seen as slowing people down rather than addingvalue.” Qualifications and pay More than three-quarters of the managers who took part in The State of theProfession Survey had passed or were studying for CIPD qualifications – most ofthem within the early stages of their careers. Of those currently studying for CIPD qualifications, 43 per cent were in thefirst three years of their HR career. Just 19 per cent had been in theprofession for four years or longer. Female HR managers are also far more likely to be involved in studying,recorded as being more than double the number of men currently studying. Overall, there were far more female CIPD-qualified managers than men.Despite this, female respondents were more likely to fall into the lower partof the salary range. Almost a third of female managers surveyed were paid under£25,000 compared to just 13 per cent of men. And just 6 per cent of women were in the £50,000 or more pay bracket,compared to 18 per cent of their male counterparts. This is partly explained by the demographic split within the survey. Whilewomen comprised 63 per cent of respondents, they were far more likely to beyounger and in less senior positions. Women also filled the vast majority of jobs attracting a salary of £20,000and under and almost half of the total female response was concentrated in the£20,000 to £35,000 wage bracket. In contrast, men accounted for 60 per cent of both board and non-boarddirectors, while only filling less than a third of management positions belowthe level of department head. This suggests that women are still unable to force their way into the upperechelons of the profession. XpertHR’s Shepherd said, “This is not specific to HR – I think it’sprobably the same across all different divisions. “But for HR managers, the difficulty lies with finding ways to getrecognition for the role they are already playing inside an organisation. “It’s not just the case that HR is adding value, but that it is seen tobe doing it. HR managers have to blow their own trumpets to get noticed.” Happiness But, regardless of pay, the vast majority of HR managers are happy to stayin the profession until retirement and over 80 per cent of respondents expectto remain in HR for the rest of their careers. Even in the youngest age grouping of 21- to 30-year-olds, 78 per cent saw HRas a career for life and claimed they were happy to stay. Those that did think they would leave were likely to have worked in otherprofessions and not be CIPD qualified. Otherwise, the results varied little bygender or earnings levels. Of the 20 per cent of respondents who did expect to leave HR, the mostcommon destination is general or senior management, closely followed byteaching, lecturing and consultancy work. Despite this, one-third of respondents still expect to change jobs withinthe next 12 months. Less than a third can see themselves staying with theircurrent employer for more than five years. Recognition The level of recognition that HR professionals receive for their efforts isan important determining factor in whether they stay with a firm, according tothe research. The level of support an employer gives to the HR team on a day-to-day basisis also influential. While over three-quarters of respondents say that they areloyal to their organisations, only 10 per cent feel that their efforts arefully recognised by senior management. Mike Emmott, adviser on employee relations at the CIPD, commented, “Thefigures suggest the personnel profession is relatively content and has a higherthan average sense of loyalty to employers. “But HR is a mobile occupation and personnel folk change and expect tochange jobs more regularly than their workers.” Only one in five people in HR have more than six years’ experience withtheir current empl-oyer, rising to 29 per cent for those in education andtraining. Women are less likely to have long service than men. Ratings When asked to rate which employment issues were most important to theirorganisation, respondents stated that recruitment, retention and staffmotivation provided the greatest day-to-day challenges. Despite the economic slowdown, staff motivation is vital to 94 per cent ofrespondents, and a similar number say recruitment and retention are importantor critical. Crucially, over 45 per cent of those surveyed claim that workplacecommunication is a critical employment issue for HR. But the research shows that HR often struggles to have a say among seniormanagement and its ability to communicate its own importance can adverselyaffect HR’s influence. Shepherd said, “The results show just how far HR still has to go toprove itself and convince the board of its worth within the wider businesscontext. “While recruitment and retention are important aspects and provide aconstant challenge for any business, it shows the magnitude of the task facingthe HR profession to get HR treated as an equal business partner.” Why is HR still not getting the respect it deserves?On 20 Nov 2001 in Personnel Todaylast_img read more