Human Resources in Phuket, Thailand
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phuket Leisure: Human Resources

 Is your Human Resources Specialist a Businessman?

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 friendly fashion.

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.


- November Issue, 2002

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