Human Capital

The thinking behind this post began a few weeks ago when someone referred to one of images-2their colleagues as an Human Resources (HR) Advisor. Whilst I understood the sentiment behind this job title, that the majority of HR management should be the responsibility of line managers, it did feel like a bit of abdication to the wider support role we need from our HR colleagues. Initially my thoughts were focussed on their role in ensuring compliance with HR policies and procedures, which led me to think about the monitoring information that I have had about the people who have worked for me in the various organisations that I have worked in. I realised that what information I had received was high level and often only received following a request from me.

For some reason I then started to compare this with the role we expect from our Finance teams in organisations and the contrast seemed quite pronounced. The expectation of advising is clearly there, as was the policing role too. It was around information that they provide to their colleagues when the differences started to become more apparent. Most organisations would expect monthly management accounts, showing the financial performance of the whole organisation and then each constituent part and individual budget holders. Budget holders would expect to be be able to access the detail behind this financial performance and see the transactions making it up. This seemed in stark contrast to the reactive total organisation reporting that I have usually experienced.

What made me more uncomfortable was whether this signifies the relative importance that most organisations place upon the people and their money. I sincerely hope that it is more to do with our expectations and therefore it is up to us to start asking for this information to be provided routinely to help us spot issues before their arise and access to the underlying HR systems. Perhaps this is available in other organisations and I am just behind the times. If so do let me know, otherwise I’d appreciate your thoughts on this.

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About Sean Kent

Accountant and non-executive director based in Norfolk. Interests include coaching, food, wine and technology.
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