Paul Kearns

Following on from last week’s introduction to The new HR Charter series on HR Zone, Paul Kearns kick-starts the debate by asking what you think about HR’s reputation. Please take part by posting your comments – simply click on ‘add comments’ at the end of this story.



I could refer you to articles written over 20 years ago about HR’s image problem. The causes of this are highly complex and we can explore them in detail as this series progresses but what has been happening in the meantime?

– Is HR represented on any more FTSE 100 boards now than it was?

– Even if it is, what role does HR play, business partner or ethical monitor?

– Does it pick up the pieces when all the hard-nosed business decisions have already been taken?

– Does it act as a buffer between the cold world of commercial decision making and employee aspirations and wishes?

– Is HR the pink and fluffy side of the organisation or is it really a respected contributor to business strategy?

– Do boards of directors have any better understanding of HR’s purpose than they did 20 years ago or do they still see it as primarily an administrative function?

– Are they really convinced that HR will help them gain a competitive advantage through people?


What about those who work in the profession?

– Do you accept that your role is the same as any other operational manager – to keep shareholders happy?

– Or do you see yourself as an employee champion – fighting to give them a voice and helping them to find fulfilling employment and an outlet to develop their potential?

– Are these two diametrically opposed and conflicting roles for HR or are they actually mutually inclusive for organisational effectiveness and business success?


What about those who do not work in the commercial arena?

– What is HR’s role in the NHS, the police, local government and the civil service?

– Does HR strategy really exist and are you anymore respected in the public sector?

– Moreover, what role does HR have when the motivation of many employees is less to do with their pay packet and much supposedly much more founded on a public service ethos?

All contributors are welcome. Let the debate commence! Please post your comments below by clicking on ‘add comments’.


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The new HR Charter

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