The Two Way Street


We have a wonderful opportunity in HR to create, support and enhance the people agenda within the world of work. Sure, it’s difficult, but as a profession we don’t shy away from that.

Aside from the unhealthy obsession we seem to have in justifying our existence, we know our place within an organisation is to enable, empower, support and to do so as a trusted and critical partner.

But the thing about being a partner, is that this means being involved in a partnership. I know i’m stating the obvious, but it’s important. Because a partnership is a two-way street. Its incoming and outgoing. Its receiving and giving. Its offloading and accepting. It’s not one-directional.

The bipartite agreement needs common ground and a shared purpose but it also needs acceptance that the relationship is reciprocal.

I see HR failing sometimes because we’re too eager to impress, because of a lack of confidence in our remit or because the rules of engagement aren’t fair in terms of how HR are perceived within an organisation, and whilst this concerns me, it worries me more when I don’t see an appetite or focus on challenging this arrangement.

A partnership works best when the nature of the relationship is understood. It works when HR are able to achieve what is required, once they have obtained input and support from those they are trying to help. When they have what they require in order to be able to give. When they have given input, and not just received an instruction.

This sometimes takes bravery but it almost always just takes some confidence.

Being acquiescent in a one-way relationship is not a partnership, it is a dependency. Do you want to be a dependent, or do you want to speak up and say ‘this is what I need from you, to deliver what we both want to achieve?’