Monday, 16 May 2011

The two most important questions that HR can ask

The most effective questions are often the simplest ones.

And also the most dangerous

As mentioned in an earlier post, I've been undertaking research into the views of Senior Managers and Directors exploring their experience of HR service, and also their vision of what effective HR delivery would look like.

As is often the case in situations like this, half way through the exercise you realise that you wished you'd asked some slightly different questions, or phrased the questions in a different way.

Analysing the responses to the interviews has made me realise that for all the complexity of the data, there are two basic questions that need to be asked by HR people to the managers that they support:

  • What do you think HR does?
  • How well does it do it?

Answers to the first question reveal as much about managers as it does about HR, as knowledge of what HR is actually involved in is often (sadly!) severely limited. (Well, there's recruitment, and ... er ... )

Answers to the second question may be rather painful as well as informative, but without some assessment or measurement of success, knowing where and how to improve is impossible.

I wonder how many HR people reading this will dare to ask these questions?


  1. Dare to ask them of the business or of themselves? Which then begs the question: if you saw the answers, would you be able to tell the difference??


  2. Great minds think alike!