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Most companies in our current day and age allocate large amounts of funds to their Human Resource departments. They use fancy words to create the impression that they care about their people. They produce all the right reports and do all the window dressing required to satisfy society at large, yet they fail to truly steward their employees. Why is this?

By trying to overcompensate for the sins of the past companies have fallen into the trap of believing that the function of managing one’s employees can be outsourced to an HR department. This has resulted in Line Management at all levels abdicating their responsibility of caring for their people. It’s convenient not to care, and to redirect all human problems, needs, and complaints to an HR department, but at the end of the day every manager is appointed to manage /steward the resources (mainly humans) under your care. It is your responsibility. You have to take a real interest in your team.  They are your people.  You must care for them, develop them, coach them, and nurture them.  You should know them and create a better future for them within the organisation. 

If you need help to do this better, then you ask the HR department to help you with technical expertise to do it the best way. If your team needs coaching, you coach them.  If you do not know how, you ask HR to assist you in improving yourself so that you can serve your team better.  You do not hand them over to someone else who does not know your job, your division and your specific technical challenges.

Similarly, you cannot outsource discipline to HR. It is your job to use the disciplinary process as a tool to grow and coach your team members to become better. HR is not a place to dump your problems. If you are a bad manager, you should clean up behind yourself and fix your own problems.  Otherwise, you can never become a better manager.  You need to remain teachable and ask for advice and assistance, but you cannot abdicate your position as the responsible person. This is not HR’s problem to fix, it is yours. Man up and get it done.

In many cases, HR Departments have become empires that bully or manipulate boards and management teams through complicated policies and processes. This totally misses the important reason why these departments were created in the first place. Rather spend resources on enabling line managers to really care for their team members and to really make a difference in their lives.

I quote Richard Branson: “Invest in your people, train and develop them that they can easily get a job with your opposition. Then treat them well enough that they do not want to work for your opposition.”

Do not leave this task to HR.