Focusing on “H” in HR

Looking for a New Year’s Resolution or a new focus for 2021?

At Development Pathways, our primary reason for being in business is still to help micro/small businesses find those “One Percenters”, because they can come from a myriad of places in your operation. 

 #1 on the list from January 2021 though is help our clients to focus on the “H” in HR. 

I really wish there was another name for “Human Resources” because I really don’t like Humans being viewed as a ‘resource’.

Ok, I am certainly not the first person to say this and think this way. Right now, HR professionals are thinking: “Oh jeeze – not another one!”.

Let me give you a few of my reasons for focusing on the “H”:

1.    Most resources in your business are identical and interchangeable. Humans are anything but. Open a packet of screws, a box of pens, a ream of paper…. all identical in every way and each capable of doing the same job.  Employ two equally well-qualified people for a role and you have different personalities, different motivations, different communication skills – the list goes on.

2.    Start to think of people as a resource and, almost by default, safety and health issues start to slip. Yes, I know the majority of businesses are very good at WHS and related matters, but we all know that there are many who are not. Some business owners or managers would take better care of their expensive cars than they do of their employees. They cut costs by insisting that PPE is reused, for example. (No, I don’t have a first-hand example of this, but I’ll bet there’s at least one on Worksafe’s records)

3.    Every other resource in your business does what you want, when you want it to and without question. Use the wrong tool and it might break under the strain. If the tool could speak, it would probably have said: “Are you freakin’ serious? I can’t lift that weight!”

Put cheap quality paper into your printer of copier and it will likely jam or tear. Hey, no big deal – just open the machine and undo the damage and away you go.  Put the wrong person or an under-trained person into a role they are not suitable for and the damage could be catastrophic for your business (if just a stuff-up) and life-threatening for the employee if the result is a workplace incident.

There are many of these examples and I could build a long list to make my case. Likewise, in a sensible debate, many of my arguments could be debated and refuted by another human.  But I’ll finish with this one:

Humans are the only element of your business (AI in future maybe) that will learn and, by doing so, potentially improve your business. We humans are great at adapting.

I’ll never understand why a business will invest $$ in a better-quality widget to increase output and efficiency, yet baulk at training and upskilling employees.

Likewise, owners and managers will agonise over the decision to buy a new van for the business – maybe $45k worth of investment – researching the best vehicle for their needs. They will then cut costs and time on a recruitment process for their new employee, ask no one for expert advice and following the “hire fast-fire fast” mantra.

So, we’ll be focusing on the “H” with our clients. You manage resources (things), but you lead humans (people).