culture leadership

Human resources (HR) plays an integral role in influencing and shaping the culture of an organisation, particularly in medium to large sized organisations.

Alan Colvin, iHR Australia Senior HR Consultant and Facilitator shared some insights into just how much an HR team can influence the culture and leadership of an organisation.

How much influence does HR have around the culture of an organisation?

HR has a large influence on the culture of an organisation. Culture is the way we do things around here. The key word is do. Culture is not what you say, culture is what you do. Cultures are leader led, but HR plays a key role.

HR can ensure that culture is aligned in everything relating to employees. Assuming the culture is defined by a set of values, those values can then be embedded in KPIs, performance reviews, recruitment, reward and recognition, talent management and so on.

What role does HR play around guiding/directing the leadership of an organisation?

HR should play a coaching role in supporting the leaders of the organisation. There always needs to be a balance between getting business results, and supporting your people. Through pulse surveys / engagement surveys / attrition rates / complaints, HR should have the facts and data to support coaching a manager to focus more on the ‘How’ (behaviours) and less on the ‘What’ (results). If you make the leader accountable for their engagement scores they will focus on their leadership style.

HR can also play an important role in shaping leadership skills – how to have difficult conversations and give feedback, how to hold people accountable for results and behaviours, listening, emotional intelligence and so on.

HR is about improving business results. We need to play our role in providing a workforce that has the skills, capabilities and behaviours to deliver to satisfy customers. Driving better engagement will retain the talented employees for longer and reduce attrition – these will improve business results.

Why is it important to keep developing as an HR professional?

We live in a fast moving world of volatility, complexity, ambiguity and uncertainty – so HR needs to be as adaptable and flexible to anything that happens in the business. HR’s role is to improve business results – companies will constantly change and HR needs to constantly align to the business. Things don’t sit still, when we look at the pandemic, Black lives matter, women’s equality marches to name a few, we need to keep developing and responding.


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