The Heart is one of the most vital organs in the human body. It is a muscle that drives or pumps blood throughout the human body and carries all vital materials which help each and everyone’s bodies function and remove the waste products that we do not need. Let’s take the Brain for instance, it needs oxygen and glucose if not received continuously consciousness is lost. So if the heart ever stops to pump blood the body begins to shut down and after sometime may lead to death.
I like to understand the HR function as the heart of any organization or body. Just like our human hearts, HR is a muscle that drives human capital; knowledge, skills and abilities which help the organization or body function and removes the uncultivable resources that lack the ability to add value to the organization.
You might be wondering why your organization or body is not functioning to its fullest capacity after having a full body modification (upgrades in departments, renovated buildings, state of the art technology, to mention a few). Check the Heart (HR function). You may have a heart failure; you are incapable of pumping enough blood to meet the body or organizational needs, worst case scenario, you may not have a ‘heart!’
So what causes a heart failure? What causes the HR function to fail? Why do you have an imbalance? Your heart muscle (HR function) may be damaged, lifeless or overworked. Some common causes of Human heart failure are coronary artery disease, high blood pressure and diabetes. Most research has found that these conditions are more common in people who are above 60 years.
How does this relate to the HR function? Let’s look at Coronary Artery Disease (CAD). An artery can be defined as a muscular wall, vessel or tube, an important route or system that carries blood. When the arteries that supply blood to the heart muscle become hardened and narrowed by plaque (accumulation of cholesterol) you are likely to get coronary artery disease, this limits the flow of vital materials in the body. The arteries that supply blood to the heart muscle (HR function) in an organization are the cultures and designs. Philosophies, workflows, procedures, structures and systems can limit the flow of knowledge, skills and abilities by causing a ‘culture and design plaque.’ Incompetent workforce, misaligned job fits, poor management, traditional methods of operations or outdated technology in your organization (disease is common in people who are above 65 years) and all these factors can lead to CAD in the HR function and cause a function failure.
High blood pressure another cause of Heart failure can be defined as weight exerted by the blood on the walls of the blood vessels and arteries which puts extra strain on your heart. The Precise causes are not known but numerous aspects and circumstances may play a part in its development, such as: overweight, old age, genetics, smoking and a lack of physical exercise. Stress on the HR function leads to a hypertensive function which causes damage to the cultures and designs where mechanisms are not functioning properly and creates difficulty to switch appropriately from one to another. This negatively affects the drive of the human capital; Knowledge, skills and abilities to the body or organization. Poor management and work-life imbalance, jobs that do not meet expectations, employee misalignment, coaching and feedback lacking and many other factors cause high blood pressure in the organization. These factors lead to poor performance at the workplace and burden the HR function because it has to work beyond its ability.
Diabetes, a disease in which the body cannot properly control the amount of sugar in your blood because it does not have enough insulin (regulates how the body uses, stores glucose and fats). In other words leadership and management is another way of looking at insulin. If an organization lacks management and the knowledge, skills and abilities of management on how to motivate, create confidence, enthusiasm and how to integrate the various capabilities and set skills found in different members of the organization in a way as to bring greater benefit to the organization it may result in a heart failure.
In conclusion, it is important for an organization to identify the factors that have a crippling consequence on the performance of the organization. Modern workplaces are full of demands and deadlines. There some employees who stand and achieve under pressure while there are employees who give in to this rising weight. Others are dissatisfied with their labor and this echoes the class of the work which also takes a toll or their well-being. Managers and supervisors can motivate subordinates and increase confidence levels. Others engage in destructive and punitive behaviors which all affect the HR function. Remember the HR function not the HR department. You can have an HR function without an HR department collectively or even as an individual. An organization has got many parts just like the human body, all important and plays crucial roles. Understanding your body or organization both inside and out and you will flourish.
By John Mumba – HR Officer