Personnel Problem; Human Resource Managers Reckon They Don't Spend Enough Time Making Decisions

Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland), January 8, 1998 | Go to article overview

Personnel Problem; Human Resource Managers Reckon They Don't Spend Enough Time Making Decisions


Personnel staff do too much paperwork and not enough decision-making to be really effective, according to a new study.

The survey by management consultants Price Waterhouse covered 40 of the world's biggest multinational companies.

But human resource managers, as they tend to be known as these days, had the same gripe everywhere.

All felt they were too heavily involved in administration and didn't spend enough time "driving" matters.

Human resource management suffers from its history of heavy involvement in administration.

Personnel practitioners have always had power, in as much as they paid the wages and administered the hiring and firing.

But that was usually only after someone else had made the bigger decisions which drove these issues.

These days, management theorists say that the skills of the people employed - known as the company's "intellectual capital" - is one of the biggest factors in business success.

Yet HR people are often left to react to decisions, rather than leading them.

In the Price Waterhouse survey, respondents said that almost 60 per cent of their time was taken up by administrative matters, with just six per cent spent on strategic planning.

Interestingly, the balance they wanted was for 90 per cent of their time to be spent in planning and decision-making and just six per cent on admin!

Commenting on the survey, Steven Berman, boss of Price Waterhouse's Global HR Solutions practice, said: "HR departments are staring their future in the face but aren't quite sure how to bridge the gap.

"They must bury their administrative past in order to assume a truly strategic role within today's ever-more global corporations. …

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