The great value in reading widely is that you hear different opinions and these can change your own view for the better. From time to time though, it is just as refreshing to hear one’s own view reinforced. That was the case on reading Margaret Heffernan’s article “Why does everyone hate HR” published recently on the BNET site. The original article can be seen at CBS News.
Margaret comments that “Every leader knows that people are a firm’s most precious asset. Every leader should know that investing in people is more efficient than investing in technology. And seven percent of CEOs say they don’t have the talent they need to execute their strategy effectively.” She asks why it is that despite such awareness HR is seen as the least important discipline. Margaret writes for the multi-national firm CEO reader but her message is easily translated to the SME.
In SMEs, HR is most likely not even recognised as a function. Indeed, TimelessTime talks of ‘people management’ to try to make SME managers aware of what HR is about and avoid it being labelled as the record keeping activity that the Office Manager does. The article talks a lot about our traditional view of HR and this applies to 90% of HR consultants and 99% of lawyers too. They spend all their time talking about keeping the firm legal. They say they’ll provide services “to prevent lawsuits”. Oh, dear! Where has the idea of ‘people as the most valuable asset’ gone?
Margaret extols the virtue of all senior managers spending time in the HR department commenting that “If you want to lead your firm, you have to have first-hand experience overseeing the assets”. SME managers can’t do that. They have no ‘HR department’. But they have TimelessTime. TimelessTime is a very different HR consultancy. We sincerely believe that people are the most valuable asset in an SME. We believe that there is an environment that the SME manager can create that recognises this. That’s not to say that anyone has to be soft with people because there are many who will take the firm for a ride. It’s to say that there are certain things that the manager can do, with TimelessTime’s help, to maximise the contribution that employees make.
TimelessTime is different. We understand. We’ve been there. We’ve run firms with £2.5M turnover. We’ve run software projects valued at £1M that could only succeed through the efforts of the people. We’ve run £500k consulting assignments with multi-national teams in some far flung place. We’ve designed, delivered and installed kit around the UK. And we’ve upsized and downsized and recruited and dismissed. All the things that SME mangers do. And now we are turning our HR skills to helping SME managers maximise people contribution to their businesses.
As Margaret intimates, HR is not a record keeping exercise. It’s not a hire and fire activity. It’s not a ‘keep us legal’ activity. It’s an all embracing activity that all SME managers need to engage with but few have the skills to excel at. It’s easy to concentrate on the money and forget about the people. Call us today to learn how this can change. Go to www.timelesstime.co.uk to learn more.
15.05.14 – updated link to external site as BNET URL changed.