Thursday, 2 October 2014

A very sorry state

Who are our customers?

I ask this simple question, because for some strange reason for the first ten years of my HR career it wasn’t so simple.

It seems a very sorry state.

I got confused; it was of course about doing the best for the business, but from a people perspective, was it the CEO, the managers, the employees?

Because, for some reason it felt like each of these groups had different needs.

I “grew up” in HR working in traditional, hierarchical organisations (finance and insurance anyone?)….

So why was it hard to work out who my customers were?

So I’ve been doing a lot of pondering, and I’ll put it out there – I think it’s because management not leadership was king.

So let me quickly define management (courtesy of Kevin Kruse), and don’t for a second get me wrong, good management is needed. Managers need to plan, measure, monitor, coordinate, solve and so many other things.

Typically, managers manage things

Leaders lead people.

It occurs to me when you have a “management culture” not “leadership culture” it turns into them verses us mentality very quickly, and the HR team sit somewhere in between. Or in many cases on one side of the fence. 

Even the name "Human Resources" implies a big lean towards the management side; calling people "resources" implies they are things that need managing. 

And that doesn’t help anyone really.

The business and growth suffers. The employees suffer, the customers suffer.

It’s all about the people that make your business. The customers, the owners, your team, your future and past team members, and the people that you’re yet to meet that will grow your business to new heights.

Treating people as people. Richard Branson’s unlimited holidays fit perfectly.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Great post Megan.

    You mention that the name "Human Resources" implies that people are called "resources". In most if not all cases this would be correct.

    I think "Human Resources" needs to change to the point that the "resources" are the tools that can enable people. Just a small change in perspective.

    As to who the customer is, that is the person your company is selling to. Remember there is no such thing as B2B or B2C, all businesses are P2P (people to people). People do business with people!

    Every part of an organisation needs to be focused on exceptional customer experience. HR directly impacts this by recruiting top talent, enabling and developing individuals.

  3. P2P, this is brilliant, thanks Vaughan

    If we come from this perspective (instead of B2B or B2C) it's simply ensuring every part of the business is focused on delivering an exceptional people experience.

    Great when it all boils down into something so simple..