The Higher Ed Workplace Blog

Attributes of a Great HR Department

HR-DepartmentA recent article in TLNT listed the following five attributes of a great HR department:

  1. People get paid on time
  2. Civil and human rights are protected
  3. Accountability is enforced.
  4. There’s something in it for everyone. HR departments remind management that employees are not robots and need more than food, water and a paycheck.
  5. Fairness has a seat at the table.

Having pondered that list for some time I want to tweak it. First, not all HR departments handle payroll. Civil and human rights should not only be protected but there is the diversity and inclusion element that needs to be part of the institution’s culture. As to accountability enforcement, I think that should come from the top, not HR. Yes, HR can do a great deal to establish a culture and implement programs to make the worker feel valued. Fairness should be assumed but it should be a foundational element of the entire organization, not just HR.

The concept of a “great” HR department conjures up a much different list for me — and one longer than 5 attributes. For this exercise I’ll keep it to five.

  1. Excellence in staff, knowledge, product and outcomes
  2. Alignment with and contribution toward organizational goals
  3. Successful culture champion
  4. Ethical, fair and moral compass
  5. Frequent, timely and clear communication

What would you add to the list, or what comments do you have about either list?