Who Is Responsible for Success.

ARTICLE

Who Is Responsible for Success.

Here is a quick quiz. What department is responsible for addressing these concerns? 1. The production department is incurring a 8.3% defect rate above the norm – Production or Human Resources; 2. The credit department has seen its accounts receivable ratio increase from 30 days to 43 days in the past two years – Credit or Human Resources; 3. The shipping and receiving department is utilizing its docking spaces an average of 64% of the time – Shipping/Receiving or Human Resources.

If you circled the three departments and Human Resources in each of the examples above, you are correct. But how, you may ask, is Human Resources expected to have the knowledge on how to fix a production defect issue. The answer is not by providing technical oversight of the production department. HR does not have the expertise or credibility to do that.

Rather, HR directly helps the production staff by first understanding the performance criteria established for the department and then by helping design the jobs and their deliverables. HR further assists the production managers by jointly developing valid performance metrics for each job within the department.

Let’s look at the first example:

A production defect ratio above an acceptable norm incurs undesirable costs in terms of money, time and reputation in the marketplace. As such, it harms leadership efforts to effectively manage the business successfully, e.g.

• Losing revenue by buyers not paying for defective products; • Incurring cost increases due to replacing or fixing defective products; • Affecting the reputation of the company for quality products • Placing the employees into an uncomfortable position of knowing that their processes are producing unacceptable levels of defective product. • Where does HR fit in this equation?

In most companies, HR typically governs the performance appraisal and job description process. Far from being merely an administrative task, in this case HR partners with the production managers to generate rational, critical and measurable performance standards for each position. Most production jobs are a team effort. Failure to succeed in one area leads to potential failures further down the chain.

In order to do this properly, it is necessary to align all jobs and their deliverables to the performance metrics established for the work group. These deliverables are further aligned to the business plan of the department and the organization. For HR to manage the performance appraisal process properly, it partners with the production department by confirming the desired measurements against which the employee is going to be rated. In order to do this, HR practitioners must have a basic, but comprehensive, knowledge of production processes. Defect ratios within the production process have many causes, of course. Here are some common causes with HR opportunities for assistance:

Insufficiently or improperly trained personnel • HR and production identifies procedural training needs, identifies appropriate training resources, and arranges for such training to occur. Insufficient financial support • HR coordinates with Finance and Production to determine what funding is available, identify restraints on funding, and the appropriate allocation of available funds.

Problems with the raw materials • HR and Production work with purchasing to determine the problems with the raw material, solutions to these problems, and implementation of satisfactory solutions. Are the company’s purchasing officers competent in their vendor negotiating criteria? Are there organizational roadblocks that inhibit more efficient and effective purchasing activities? Sheer complexity or volume of the operation • HR partners with department leaders to determine if staffing levels are acceptable and within financial boundaries or if something needs to be changed.

Acceptable performance is the common thread. Superior performance appraisals are not warranted when performance is less than superior by objective measures. HR’s credibility, effectiveness and value adding service is enhanced when it works directly with each department to help generate above average and reliable performance.

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