An analysis of what an HR does, through the allusion of a very (in)famous jibeSaasha Jethwani
"You're in HR? Oh you must be making Rangoli in your office then."
While this jibe has lasted for many years and would probably continue to, as most of us know- that is not even close to what an HR does. The article here does not talk about the taunt and the lack of credibility associated with it. I'm going to try and explain the function of an HR through that same analogy.
Rangoli- a definition-
An intricately designed work, usually done by hand that adds beauty to the overall environment of a particular situation (e.g. festivals)
If Rangoli was looked at as an organization, then an HR:-
1) Needs to carefully decide what the colour combination and design would be- This may be equated to the designing of Human Resource Planning Needs, what exactly is required from the program to be undertaken as well as designing existing jobs in the way of existing and enriching them. Here, we even look at the use of multiple colors to add to the pallet and the overall beauty, which could be likened to diversity and how it is so important to have a mix of employees for increased overall effectiveness. It also involves looking at designing the aims, mission and vision of the task.
Aim of a Rangoli design- Make a beautiful piece of art.
Aim of an HR - Make a beautiful conducive environment for the organisation.
Mission and Vision of a Rangoli Design- While the short term focus would be applying all creativity to get a favourable response, the long term focus would be on maintenance of consistency as well as standards of the design. Be as creatively intelligent as possible.
Mission and Vision of an HR- Use all possible tools in the short term to gain commitment and positive response from employees, the long term focus would be on the consistency of hiring practices, performance standards etc. Be as creatively as well as emotionally intelligent as possible.
2) Execute the actual design - This may be equated with the actual task of Job Analysis, conducting recruitment, selection drives as well as execution of various activities as required by the organization (including PR events). It may take hours and hours (infact, years and years) and rigorous work is involved in it.
3) Finishing Touches to the design- Performance may be improved by certain training and development and management programs and here, we're adding final touches to an already skilled employee.
4) Analyze performance- May be in the way of self appraisal or other forms of appraisal- asking people about how they feel about the activities undertaken.
5) Take steps for improvement- Modifying the design, or in the case of HR- the activities. For example, changing a source of recruitment for further effectiveness. A key aspect is also passing the knowledge down to future generations of the family (i.e. employees)
6) Administering recognition and rewards- If I've taken the efforts to make a beautiful Rangoli, I would either be recognized for it or even compensated(possibly in kind) and hence fair administration of the job done is essential in the business world.
Other interesting points to note:
Rangoli nowadays is made with the use of various equipment such as stencils and even certain automated tools at times, just like HR is now transitioning from the traditional personnel management to adapting to the disruptions in technology such as EPSS and HRIS.
When the Rangoli is well made, it results in a lot of neighbors as well as family members visiting the house and being extremely pleased about it. It is the primary observation that the 'stakeholders' have with the festival on that day. In the same way, if the company has good HR Practices and is designed with care and compassion - employees will have great impressions of the organization and attrition would definitely reduce. Employees from other companies would also look at joining ours.
There are times when people end up stepping on the Rangoli- and we may have to redesign it or modify it in a way that it still looks great- this could be alluded to handling employee as well as labor disputes, because even a small kick or step back could result in major setbacks if not handled with precision and care.
Hence, to conclude I would like to say- HR Definitely does design Rangoli, if what is being referred to as Rangoli is the designing of an intricate, creative and agile organization.