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What Customers Want from HR

The Institute of Employment Studies has just published a very interesting report based on research with its member organisations. People Management published the findings in their 18 September issue. You can get a summary of the results here What Customers Want From HR

A number of the findings stood out for me, and fit with views expressed in organisations I have worked with. For example:

  • Customers want an HR function that knows about HR. HR needs to be the people experts, fully conversant with all technical personnel issues, as well as deeper people, work and motivation issues.
  • “HR needs to be like the jester to the king. It has to tell him what everyone knows but no-one else dare say – you have to be very smart to do that.”
  • That satisfaction with HR services is strongly related to the perceived quality of HR staff, especially whether they are expert, reliable, well-informed, responsive and understand employee needs.
  • That HR needs to be ‘out and about’ in the business – with its finger on the pulse of what employees are feeling and how well they are working.

One comment intrigued me – that managers want HR to ‘fiddle around less with policies and processes – the repeated redesign of performance management forms was a frequent irritant, for example. In organisations where I have worked, this was driven by managers’ unwillingness to do the tough talking and the ‘crap’ form was used as an excuse for this. We need to stand up to this and insist that the conversation is much more important than the form.

And the report also highlights the issue that I feel SO strongly about - that managers and employees need a clear understanding of what HR thinks it is there to do, what services it is offering, and how to access these.

What are you doing to achieve this?


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