“In tough times, people flee to quality.” These words have stuck with me over the past decade, since they were shared by a business leader who inspired me greatly.
The point was that people are much more discerning, cautious and analytical when trading conditions get tough. People are less tolerant of sub-optimal performance or delivery when discretionary effort or capital are being challenged.
People shift to a focus on quality.
HR transformation (human resources and/or employment relations) can be treated with suspicion by managers and employees - they become cynical about the value that is added. Bold claims get made about culture, environment, strategic value etc, but often, if we are honest, there can be a perception that HR is a nicety or a luxury; or even worse, a poor investment.
If ever there was a time for HR professionals to deliver true value, it is now. As a colleague said to me this week – “if this is not the time for HR to shine, when is?”
Increasingly we are being asked to assist businesses needing help to make tough calls or solve complex and/or difficult problems. Some of these clients have well established HR support; while many have none and, in the cases of some privately owned businesses, they may be talking to an HR expert for the first time. One alarming finding is that, often, you cannot tell the difference between those investing heavily in quality systems and processes, and those that are not. Vendors have been opportunistic, lazy, or worse – they have taken advantage of the customer. I’m often appalled by the poor level of service and/or products that some customers have been paying for.
Now, more often than not, clients are ‘fleeing to quality’.
This truly is HR’s time to shine and users of our services are demanding better from the HR profession. We are keen, willing, and able to assist. HR is not a luxury item, we’re an essential service and, as an industry, we need to be knowledgeable, insightful, helpful and commercially focused to do the best for our clients. Above all, we need to be experts that deliver tangible, quality results.