The People Side of Business

I had an "aha moment" this morning while reading an interview with Dick Beatty at HR.Com.

Richard W. (Dick) Beatty is Professor of Human Resource Management at Rutgers University and is the author of The Workforce Scorecard with Mark A. Huselid and Brian E. Becker. Professor Beatty teaches in the areas of applied behavioral science in human resource management and the role of the human resource function in organizations. He was one of my professors when I completed the HR Certificate program at Rutgers back in the '80's.

Here is an excerpt of what Dick had to say:

"For most organizations, about 70% of expenditures are attributed to the workforce, in terms of direct and indirect compensation. The question is whether or not we are maximizing the possibilities of our workforces and delivering the strategy of the firm as intended. Are we producing the customer advantages that we want to produce so that customers choose us, remain loyal and create wealth for the investors of the firm.

"HR has to start to think like a businessperson first. I think we have a lot of problems within the HR function in terms of thinking like a businessperson first. We have to think about competitive advantage, think about differentiation from an outsider's perspective. How do firms differentiate such that they are chosen over their competitors? What kind of a workforce do we need so that it is truly aligned and leveraged around those wealth-creating positions that are going to deliver the business strategy? The other question is, how do we differentiate within HR to make sure that we are doing a great job of the care, feeding and leveraging of that part of the workforce that truly does create the competitive advantage for the firm. One of the ways of looking at it is to say that the workforce is the deliverable of HR. HR's job is to deliver a workforce that really creates and extends the competitive advantage of the firm."

Reading these responses from Prof. Beatty, it suddenly occured to me that we, HR folk and non-HR folk, may be caught in a paradigm that needs to shift, a paradigm that is often described as "the people side of the business."

Is there really any such thing, in light of Beatty's comments?

Isn't all of business a people thing?


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