Are you commercially minded?


Jim Bailey (FAHRILife), of recruitment firm Bailey, Shaw and Partners in Melbourne, talks measurable, strategic and responsible HR.

Q. Do you think a lot of Australian companies see HR as a commercial contributor to the bottom line or as more of a cost centre?

All functions are more measurable now and contribute to the business. The emphasis has increased on measures in the HR area.

Things like turnover, absences and leave to be taken have been around for a long time, but finally, attention is being paid to the real cost of hire – such as contractors, who have historically been off the books until now in most companies.

So I think HR has moved, and is moving, towards being more measurable and is being seen as more of a commercial contributor.

Q. Is it a good idea for some employees to operate outside their job description if they want to impress or directly affect a company’s bottom line?

No, I don’t think employees should have to think outside the box to deliver on business strategy. It should be part of their job and connected to the strategy.

At present, this doesn’t happen as much as it should. I’m sure that everyone thinks outside the box to some extent, but it’s certainly not a good idea to make it a requirement. It’s much better to attach jobs to strategy instead of having to deal with a rogue operator, so to speak.

Q. What are some of the factors to consider when people are trying to present business cases to encourage management buy-in?

I’ve said to people for many years that, if your boss wants you to do certain things in your job, you should get them clarified, or clarify them for your boss if he or she won’t. You should also write them down.

If your boss can clarify the three, four of five things they want from you, you need to deliver on them, tell them you’ve delivered it, and do that in writing.

At the same time, tell other people who might be interested. This might sound self-interested and self-serving, but I think it’s a requirement.

Q. Do you think the argument for commercial viability in HR is redundant in the face of values-led and culture-led HR?

No, I don’t. The reason is that the majority of HR people are either soft and fluffy or they play policeman. If they have chosen one of these roles, it is perhaps something they’ve built up for themselves.

They could also be neither commercial in terms of the bottom line, nor commercial in terms of strategy – they’re just doing a job.

So I think it’s actually more of a debate about HR roles in that the minority get on with the business, and the majority fill the types of role I just described.

Q. And is the majority ruling?

Perhaps, but I think the people who practise HR the way it ought to be practised get on with it and are making great strides on behalf of their businesses.

The people who are soft and fluffy probably have an edge, and because of this I think the HR fraternity has a lot to answer for.

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Michael Begg
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Michael Begg

In my many years of providing HR services and walking the talk, the only way HR add’s value to the business is if you are in the business. HR partnering, senior HR individuals working alongside the commercial business leader providing strategic & tactical advice, hands on guidance and HR related sharing of personal & corporate knowledge, so that the business feels and experiences the value you provide to their fast paced/moving business. My experience from working within corporate businesses and externally serving them via consulting services confirms the real above observations. “If your not in with them…..your not part of… Read more »

Simone Shugg
Guest
Simone Shugg

What a sad state of affairs when an ex National President of AHRI has a view that the ‘majority of HR people are either soft and fluffy or they play policeman’. I challenge you on this Jim Bailey and am tired of this pointless argument and discussion. If we spent more time talking about solutions and positives as opposed to whinging about what we perceive as wrong – the world would be a better place.

Jessica Crawford
Guest
Jessica Crawford

I agree with the comment above, what an unfortunate assertion that the majority of HR people are either soft and fluffy or they play policeman, this is certainly not true of the HR professionals I have had the benefit of working with and learning from.

Todd Carmona
Guest
Todd Carmona

I would like to see some research regarding Jim Baileys comments?

Its very easy to make such broad statements but without having the research and data to back up such claims e.g. soft, fluffy or policeman how does one justify these comments

Greg Reiffel
Guest
Greg Reiffel

I have seen the HR scene from a HR Manager’s and consultant’s side. In my opinion the HR department should be there to implement their part of the company’s business plan. No “warm and fuzzy”, no “HR said I had to it this way”, no “quasi union” for employees.

HR is a relatively new profession (we cannot even sign stat dec’s!) and to a large part still finding its way. HR should be nimble to the requirements to keep businesses ticking over. After all, it is the business that provides the employment.

More on HRM

Are you commercially minded?


Jim Bailey (FAHRILife), of recruitment firm Bailey, Shaw and Partners in Melbourne, talks measurable, strategic and responsible HR.

Q. Do you think a lot of Australian companies see HR as a commercial contributor to the bottom line or as more of a cost centre?

All functions are more measurable now and contribute to the business. The emphasis has increased on measures in the HR area.

Things like turnover, absences and leave to be taken have been around for a long time, but finally, attention is being paid to the real cost of hire – such as contractors, who have historically been off the books until now in most companies.

So I think HR has moved, and is moving, towards being more measurable and is being seen as more of a commercial contributor.

Q. Is it a good idea for some employees to operate outside their job description if they want to impress or directly affect a company’s bottom line?

No, I don’t think employees should have to think outside the box to deliver on business strategy. It should be part of their job and connected to the strategy.

At present, this doesn’t happen as much as it should. I’m sure that everyone thinks outside the box to some extent, but it’s certainly not a good idea to make it a requirement. It’s much better to attach jobs to strategy instead of having to deal with a rogue operator, so to speak.

Q. What are some of the factors to consider when people are trying to present business cases to encourage management buy-in?

I’ve said to people for many years that, if your boss wants you to do certain things in your job, you should get them clarified, or clarify them for your boss if he or she won’t. You should also write them down.

If your boss can clarify the three, four of five things they want from you, you need to deliver on them, tell them you’ve delivered it, and do that in writing.

At the same time, tell other people who might be interested. This might sound self-interested and self-serving, but I think it’s a requirement.

Q. Do you think the argument for commercial viability in HR is redundant in the face of values-led and culture-led HR?

No, I don’t. The reason is that the majority of HR people are either soft and fluffy or they play policeman. If they have chosen one of these roles, it is perhaps something they’ve built up for themselves.

They could also be neither commercial in terms of the bottom line, nor commercial in terms of strategy – they’re just doing a job.

So I think it’s actually more of a debate about HR roles in that the minority get on with the business, and the majority fill the types of role I just described.

Q. And is the majority ruling?

Perhaps, but I think the people who practise HR the way it ought to be practised get on with it and are making great strides on behalf of their businesses.

The people who are soft and fluffy probably have an edge, and because of this I think the HR fraternity has a lot to answer for.

5
Leave a reply

avatar
500
  Subscribe to receive comments  
Notify me of
Michael Begg
Guest
Michael Begg

In my many years of providing HR services and walking the talk, the only way HR add’s value to the business is if you are in the business. HR partnering, senior HR individuals working alongside the commercial business leader providing strategic & tactical advice, hands on guidance and HR related sharing of personal & corporate knowledge, so that the business feels and experiences the value you provide to their fast paced/moving business. My experience from working within corporate businesses and externally serving them via consulting services confirms the real above observations. “If your not in with them…..your not part of… Read more »

Simone Shugg
Guest
Simone Shugg

What a sad state of affairs when an ex National President of AHRI has a view that the ‘majority of HR people are either soft and fluffy or they play policeman’. I challenge you on this Jim Bailey and am tired of this pointless argument and discussion. If we spent more time talking about solutions and positives as opposed to whinging about what we perceive as wrong – the world would be a better place.

Jessica Crawford
Guest
Jessica Crawford

I agree with the comment above, what an unfortunate assertion that the majority of HR people are either soft and fluffy or they play policeman, this is certainly not true of the HR professionals I have had the benefit of working with and learning from.

Todd Carmona
Guest
Todd Carmona

I would like to see some research regarding Jim Baileys comments?

Its very easy to make such broad statements but without having the research and data to back up such claims e.g. soft, fluffy or policeman how does one justify these comments

Greg Reiffel
Guest
Greg Reiffel

I have seen the HR scene from a HR Manager’s and consultant’s side. In my opinion the HR department should be there to implement their part of the company’s business plan. No “warm and fuzzy”, no “HR said I had to it this way”, no “quasi union” for employees.

HR is a relatively new profession (we cannot even sign stat dec’s!) and to a large part still finding its way. HR should be nimble to the requirements to keep businesses ticking over. After all, it is the business that provides the employment.

More on HRM