To be truly effective, your Human Resources specialist must
be the Businessman responsible for Human Resources. He or
she differs from the businessman responsible for Sales and
Marketing or the businessman responsible for General Management
only in the skills he or she has and the skills he or she
uses. However, unlike the Sales and Marketing businessman
or the Financial specialist, both of whom can successfully
live their lives and expand their careers in their chosen
discipline, the Human Resources Specialist cannot hope to
be a successful professional unless he is a convincing all-rounder.
If he has not performed roles in, especially operations or
plant management or had bottom line responsibility for a commercial
operation, he cannot expect to be credible to his colleagues.
Although Human Resources Associations in every country do
fine work in their specific domain and within their geographical
boundaries, they often fail to recognize and advise their
budding students and younger members that to really succeed
in Human Resources work, they must leave this, their chosen
career, for at least ten years in order to follow different
paths and to experience different business disciplines. The
Human Resources specialist must swing from branch to branch
of the corporate tree whilst his colleagues climb steadily
upwards or crawl consistently along the same branch.
The responsibility of the Human Resources specialist is to
both manage and advise how to manage the most volatile and
expensive asset of your business. He or she has to be as competent
as your best engineering analyst in ensuring the "machinery"
works in a total quality fashion and that both planned maintenance
and emergency repairs are equally possible. He has to fight
to ensure that these assets are purchased at the right cost,
perform satisfactorily, are well oiled and provide the right
quality end product. He has also to ensure that when their
useful life is completed, they are disposed of in an environmentally
Companies have not historically regarded the Human Resources
function as a fully-fledged business division and consequently
have ill-prepared the incumbents in such roles. The HR businessman
has to be developed but this is obviously a long-term activity.
The primary mover, certainly in the present development status
of the function in Thailand and its recognition in terms of
importance, is the career HR specialist himself. He or she
must really want to be a businessman. They must force themselves,
career wise, into different disciplines. If the company does
not wish to assist in this process, then a change of company
is called for. Perhaps even, for a while, the HR specialist
will have to go into business for himself to understand different
aspects and pressures. The budding HR businessman has to push,
push and push to create the opportunities that will offer
the essential experience.
Companies must begin to recognize their responsibility in
offering support and opportunity to the young Human Resources
professional to develop his or her career outside the more
obvious areas of specialism and qualification and to take
a long-term pragmatic view. The short-cuts many companies
take by recruiting a life-long HR specialist and expecting
him to operate meaningfully as a contributor to overall business
strategy or working in advisory roles to the other senior
departmental managers of the company is just as likely to
be as unsuccessful as taking a seasoned and successful Marketing
Manager and putting him in charge of the Human Resources activity.
The blinkered career HR specialist cannot hope to be credible
when he attempts to advise outside the immediate skills he
has received in his education and experience. The seasoned
businessman usually does not possess the techniques, technical
skills and people awareness dynamics that would equip him
to perform well in the HR role.
There are two prime movers charged with the responsibility
for upgrading the awareness and professionalism of the Human
Resources function, the HR professional and his or her company.
Together they must develop a fully-rounded businessman for,
unless your HR professional is "The businessman responsible
for Human Resources", you have second best and your company
will not be performing in the most efficient way and utilizing
its human resources in the most profitable fashion.
Having reached the situation where the Human Resources professional
is respected as a businessman, it is now essential that he
or she creates within the organization awareness and belief
that the Human Resources Department is a profit centre and
not an expense overhead department clothed in mystique. The
HR professional needs to convince all levels of management
that HR policies and activities are major contributors to
the growth and wealth of the company. The HR case must be
presented in dollars or Baht rather than in procedures and
systems. If, for example, a position evaluation structure
is being proposed to the company, it needs to be presented
in the light of how it will improve efficiency, reduce cost
or improve profitability. As a project it should be able to
stand stringent financial analysis just in the same way as
when the Engineering department suggests the purchase of new
tooling or machinery and the pay back and efficiency gains
such a purchase would occasion. Human Resources is not a welfare
function employing people to do good deeds, it is in existence
to make money and to add value to the company. There are some
difficulties in measuring the cost of poor morale, of inefficient
pay scales and of high turnover, but given a little latitude,
anything can be measured. No Human Resources policy should
be offered to a company unless it is accompanied by a cost
and income analysis to support it.
Managers have to be convinced that the Human Resources Department
is providing a necessary product and is doing so cost efficiently.
Further, the HR activity must be seen as being of key strategic
importance to the development of every department and to the
company as a whole. It must be seen as a true senior management
function, staffed by high quality personnel who come from
an excellent all-round business experience so that they can
talk with authority and implement with credibility.