HR gets a bad press. It’s become one of those everyday euphemisms for unhelpful bureaucracy at work like ‘health and safety’ and ‘company policy’ that is all too easy to poke fun at. As a result Human Relations has somehow turned in to one of those turn-off expressions that we like to think we would all be better off without.

But there is a lot to happily reflect on when it comes to HR. It’s like the straight man in a comedy partnership. Never getting the glory, but quietly setting up the good stuff for the other guy to deliver the zinger. HR is part of the key support to our more expansive and creative moments. And just like the comic straight role in any partnership, HR requires its own artistry to master.

Perhaps it was that sense of the artistic that caused the people at HR specialists Cezanne to take the name of a famous painter. When it is done well, HR is a delicate matter of light and shade, of subtle texturing and a deft appreciation of how each individual detail must combine with all the others for the greater good. Cezanne HR software represents a suite of tools to enable precisely that sort of light touch.

Talent management
The thorny issue (in HR circles) of Talent Management represents just such a nuanced appreciation of the artistry as well as the more structured measurements that ultimately any business relies on. Whatever priorities we set along the way, there is always a bottom line to consider.

Talent management reflects the way key decision makers, strategic decision makers and creatives within businesses can be most productively managed. As our artistic metaphor implies, this is not just a simple matter of management by numbers.

Whether we might care to admit it or not, there is plenty of evidence that beyond the basic level of manual work some people are far more productive than others. It has been estimated that within any organization as few as 20% of workers will carry the bulk of any workload. Such talented staff are, thus, worth their weight in gold. The HR concerns in this area are twofold:

1. To recruit, retain and reward such star personnel.

2. To avoid alienating everyone else in the organisation who may not be a ‘star’.

The second point is all the more telling because there is every reason to encourage the development of staff so that their potential to star is not suppressed. ‘Stars’ take time to learn and develop their artistry. It is a lot more effective to develop and keep your own rather than see them leave just at the point where they become really valuable.

Increasingly, the way our HR departments are working is behind the scenes to make the most of this equation. HR is, thus, a key driver in the development of any business and not – as it is so often portrayed – just another tick-box nuisance.

Just like the straight man in a comedy team, HR isn’t just a dead weight holding back the star player. Instead, it is a kind of springboard that allows the star to hit the heights. HR may not necessarily get all the laughs, but we’d all experience less happy results without it.