When people ask about my job, I answer “human resources”. They then respond with, “you hire people.” True, talent acquisition is often HR’s responsibility. It’s not the entirety of the job.
When I try to explain the role of HR, it turns into a long list of things: benefits, compensation and safety, employee relations, and so on. Etc. People’s eyes glaze over when they realize that human resources are a difficult profession to define.
When I talk about HR today, I like the phrase “HR is the architect of work.”
It’s a simple question. What is an architect responsible for? They design safe, functional, attractive, and economic structures. They communicate their designs to builders and clients.
The creation of work is the responsibility of human resources professionals.
- People will be eager to apply for these positions
- Companies can afford to pay a wage and offer benefits packages.
- Employees are offered purpose
- The organization’s business needs are met
Work can also change as buildings and other structures change over time. HR is responsible for ensuring that the company’s goals are met by taking a holistic approach.
This conversation about alignment reminded me of a funny story I shared years ago with someone. He and his wife would always go out to dinner together. One night, they sketched their dream home on a bar napkin. They gave the bar napkin to an architect, who said this was their dream home. The architect then looked at the napkin and asked, “Can you make one suggestion?” They should have a kitchen. Years later, the couple built their dream home. A sign was also placed at the kitchen’s entry stating, “This kitchen is only for resale purposes.”
Human resources are responsible for creating work. To build worthwhile jobs that allow people to achieve the company’s goals.