Is HR in queue for support from senior leaders?

Senior leaders may sometimes ignore the HR function, since it is not a direct revenue generator.

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Browsing through some of the articles and blogs related to HR and employee relations, we at HRKatha chanced upon an article written by a senior HR leader in the industry on her LinkedIn profile. The article talked about the difference in the approach of leaders at mid- or senior-level to the problems related to retention and succession plans, as compared to the shortcomings in revenue or losing of clients.

The bold message that seemed to come across was that though HR may not directly contribute to the revenue and business of the organisation, it does facilitate it and senior leaders do not understand it. After all, it is the people of the organisation that drive the business. Their contribution to the business makes way for supreme opportunities in the market for the company. The senior leadership will have to support HR in moving the people agenda at the workplace.

Richard Lobo

“It totally depends on your business and industry. If it is a business highly driven by the skills of your people, the senior leadership will prioritise focus and worry about the people brand”

It is quite obvious that when there is a dip in the client market share (CMS) or the revenue market share (RMS) of the company, there is an uproar amongst the senior leaders. All of them start taking personal interest in analysing and reviewing the situation to find where things are going wrong in the company. But when the company starts losing out on its people, the senior leaders do not show the same kind of interest and support to its HR to resolve the problem.

Sharing an anecdote from the mentioned article will make things more clear for everyone.

When the organisation starts losing people

Leader – Many of your team members have started to leave in the last six months. Have you tried finding out why this is happening?

Manager – As of now, four people from my team have left, which constitutes about 25 per cent of the team. Employee A has left because he was asking for a higher salary, employee B had been expecting a promotion for the last two years, employee C had some family issues and employee D wanted to pursue higher studies.

Leader – Go a little deeper into this and talk to the HR regarding this matter.

When the company loses a deal

Leader – Why did we lose this deal? It was the largest deal of the year!

Manager – Competitors offered a better price.

Leader – We need to build relationships and engage clients early on. It is important to involve all the senior leaders for these deals. I want to see the timeline and how we went about this deal. I am also calling for a meeting with you next week.

Rohit Suri

“The key asset in our business is people and talent. Therefore, attraction and retention of key talent is a top priority in the organisation”

Clearly, the leader was not worried about the fact that people were leaving, but when the clients leave, he is infuriated.

HRKatha asked some HR leaders about this kind of a situation — whether the senior leaders gets involved or prefer to just leave it to the HR to handle.

According to Richard Lobo, EVP & head HR, Infosys the involvement of senior leaders depends upon the kind of talent the company is losing. It is a situation similar to when you lose a big client.

“It totally depends on your business and industry. If it is a business highly driven by the skills of your people, the senior leadership will prioritise focus and worry about the people brand,” says Lobo.

This means an alarm will be raised only when you lose key talent and top performers. What about the others?

Rohit Suri, chief HR & talent officer, Group M agrees that all senior leaders in their organisation take the people agenda very seriously and losing clients and business is equal to loosing people.

Sharing a positive view, Suri shares, “The key asset in our business is people and talent. Therefore, attraction and retention of key talent is a top priority in the organisation.”

Leaders need to understand that though HR may not produce direct revenues for them, it sure does facilitate it.

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