HR’s strategic role depends on culture shift

According to KPMG Consulting, human resources departments are struggling to alter their contribution from a function predominantly preoccupied with administrative tasks to that of key players in the organisation’s strategy. The “cultural change” required to develop the role of HR departments, in many cases, has not taken place. HR departments need to upgrade the competencies of their staff, and technology may be the key that will enable this to happen.

Mark Spears, director responsible for People Solutions at KPMG said: “Issues ranging from mergers and demergers to highly competitive labour markets and the growing dominance of the knowledge economy have dramatically increased the demands on HR departments. And with the increasing importance of finding, keeping and assisting the development of good people, there is a real need for HR directors to establish an organisational agenda that is fully integrated into the strategic plans of their companies.”

A bigger and better department is not the answer, said Spears. He advocates a culture change and the increasing deployment of technology to cover administrative tasks.

The HR function is under pressure to provide more value to the organisation, he said. “But many HR professionals are still spending the majority of their time hiring and firing, processing forms, benefits and payroll.

This reinforces the perception in the extended organisation that the HR department primarily provides administrative support and cannot help the company achieve its business aims.”

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