The various departments in your organisation have their own unique territories. Like gardens, weeds spring up in these territories. Fortunately many weeds are pretty easy to deal with; catching them young before they reproduce and take over is most effective.
However, there are weeds that present far bigger challenges. These perennial weeds live from year to year, and hoeing them just cuts the top off so they pop back up their deep roots spreading across territorial boundaries until all departments are plagued by weeds and blocking out the light restricting the growth of new and more favourable plants.
Performing a HR audit can reveal those issues where best practice has lapsed a little. An audit of the HR department can identify those areas where small yet essential details have been missed and are in danger of becoming habit. Like the process of rooting out small weeds in the garden before they become established and infect the rest of the garden and the wider environment.
What if I suspect my HR garden is overrun with weeds?
Poor HR practice has the ability to infect the business territory like fertilizer bad practice acts as a stimulant creating infections from recruitment to retirement. But what if your HR department has little insight on how its practice process and procedures impacts competitive advantage and profitability.
Imagine if our business strategy is to grow an organic sustainable garden with stunning displays of flowers, crops, and exotic plants, but our business leaders perceive HR to be more focused on transactional activities, such as processing payroll and benefits and the application of employment law rather than high-level strategic issues, so HR are not involved in strategic planning discussions. Consequently, HR sits quietly in a corner repeating process and procedure and fails to plan and respond to the changing requirements threats and opportunities presented to a business. While other departments such as marketing, finance and sales are shouting about their contribution to the business mission, and use objective measures to calculate their share of Return on Investment for the organization.
Like brand and software design, human capital is an intangible asset however human capital is the stock of competencies, knowledge, skills, experience, and potential all the people oriented capabilities we need for a business to be successful. Any organisation interested in its performance will naturally ask how well they are managing this asset to ensure maximum return on their investment
If a business understands how its human capital contributes to their business success, it can then be measured and managed more effectively and you can’t maximise your contribution to the business until you first understand exactly how the business works now, what future direction it will take and what holds it back.
So, like an area of the garden that has been neglected the weeds start to grow and despite the effort and focus of the other areas in that garden those nasty weeds will spread through misaligned recruitment, performance and talent management practices until the landscape is infected and the cultural rot sets in.
The good news is that it’s never too late to weed your garden a HR audit can create opportunities by providing valuable information about current practice and help to determine the adequacy of those practices to meet the future needs of the business.
An audit can clarify areas where HR can better align with the business. Making sure that the performance goals of HR are objective, measurable and valid and of course ensuring that what remains is the growth of bright, focused and vibrant human capital.