Article (January-2020)


Building HR competencies

Anil Kaushik

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When we enter into 2020 of fast changing business environment with new hopes, where managerial and leadership skills are also under transformation, certain things are still left behind and not much attention has been paid to fill the gap and complete the loop. One of the harsh realities is that still in most of the industries non HR managers have not been skilled enough to take on the people management issues. There is still is a wide gap in perception that HR function is not for technical managers. This divide in technical and HR function has always made people issues more complex when it comes to their resolution. It has taken decades to make non HR managers understand that people function is not confined to only HR professionals.

What required is to orient non HR managers and align the perception with HR managers so that both think and act in the same wave length. Though HR is specialised in their function but non HR managers cannot afford to be away from people management skills like counselling, feedback, communicating with subordinates, peers and seniors, keeping their people in a team bonding and so on. Non HR managers have to sharpen these skills day by day while dealing with their people. They are the real HR managers because the workplace conflict is inevitable being employees representing different work styles and personalities and it is for them to build a positive workplace relationship and understand the nuances of interpersonal skills to resolve conflicts.

The problem is that neither technical managers have expressed interest towards these skills nor HR professionals or top management paid much attention to build HR competencies in non HR managers. They are kept restricted to meeting production targets and other operational activities. The foundation of the approach that we don't do HR is wrong. People are not retained by HR manager in organisation. It is their immediate manager who retains them and nurtures. He has to be a coach and mentor too in respect of his subordinates. Most of the issues erupt between employees and their managers when managers are not able to develop trust. They make unaccessable to them thus lose the respect. Employees don't look up at HR manager for all their issues. They look up at their managers.

HR Professionals in their organisation also need to play an important role in preparing non HR managers to deal with people issues effectively. They should be made fully aware of different employment laws, organisation rules, policies and empower technical managers to handle people issues independently at floor level. HR should play role of a facilitator only and non HR managers should be made accountable for managing their people issues.

This edition cover story depicts HR’s importance for non HR and how by adopting a collaborative approach, HR function should be practiced at all levels to build an institution where human capital makes the difference. Industry experts and top HR professionals draw a road map by underlining its relevance.

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Happy Reading and wishing you a progressive 2020!