It’s Not HR’s Job to Be Strategic

Human-capital issues are top-of-mind for CEOs around the world — but their regard for the HR function remains perilously low: In a PwC study, only 34% said that HR is well prepared to capitalize on transformational trends (compared with 56% for finance).

Sadly, chief executives aren’t the only ones with this negative perception. It’s pervasive in organizations — and to make matters worse, HR practitioners have inadvertently played into it. In its “State of Human Capital” report, McKinsey found that people in HR still largely have “a support-function mindset, a low tolerance for risk, and a limited sense of strategic ‘authorship’” — all of which has led to “low status among executive peers, no budget for innovation, and a ‘zero-defects’ mentality.”

Though many HR managers would take exception to those findings, they do, overwhelmingly, want more of a strategic voice than they have now. Look at any HR discussion forum, and you’ll find some version of this question: How can HR get a “seat at the table” and become a strategic business partner?

I’m going to suggest that HR — at least in its current form — shouldn’t be a strategic partner.

Read the rest of the article at the Harvard Business Review.