8 Golden Principles of Human Resources (2023)

“Take away my people, but leave my factories, and soon grass will grow on the factory floors. Take away my factories, but leave my people, and soon we will have a new and better factory.” —Andrew Carnegie

Human Resources (HR) is the backbone of any organization as it deals with all aspects of employees, from recruitment to retirement, including wages and welfare. As the war for talent intensifies globally, HR is more focused than ever before. Currently, there is a drastic shift from manual workers to knowledge workers worldwide, where people aspire to become consultants rather than contractors. Additionally, employee aspirations and expectations are rising rapidly.

Man vs. Machine

Previously, it was the machine behind the men that counted. But today, it is the men behind the machine that counts. Organizations are crying for talent globally. There is a scarcity of right talent, and it is a great opportunity for the right talent to explore and grow globally.

There is a limit to machines, but there is no limit to human potential. Elbert Hubbard rightly remarked, “One machine can do the work of 50 ordinary men. No machine can do the work of one extraordinary man.” It is a fact that machines can be handled easily whereas people cannot as people have different emotions, egos, and feelings. Handling them is a challenging task as they have different expectations and aspirations. Knowing what motivates them is another major challenge. At times, they don’t gel well with other members in the team and leaders find it challenging to lead and retain them. Here, the role of HR comes into play in order to effectively handle employees from entry to exit. Additionally, HR must reinvent with the latest principles and philosophies by keeping pace with the expectations and aspirations of all stakeholders to stay ahead of the times and technologies.

HR Principles

There are many principles of Human Resources. Here are eight of them to understand and apply appropriately to make HR practices transparent and relevant for the future.

Principle #1: Recruitment to retirement.

HR is all about dealing with employees from recruitment to retirement. It includes manpower planning, selection, training and development, placement, wage and salary administration, promotion, transfer, separation, performance appraisal, grievance handling, welfare administration, job evaluation and merit rating, and exit interview. Precisely, it deals with planning, organizing, staffing, directing, and controlling of people.

Principle #2: People (men) behind the machine count.

Previously, it was the machine behind the man that counted. Today, people are the real power to drive organizations forward. Machines only assist people. Ultimately, the machine is servant to men, not the other way around.

Principle #3: Hire for attitude, recruit for skills.

Attitude is the key to employee engagement and success. Hence, HR leaders must emphasize attitude rather than experience. It is better to hire a new job seeker with high attitude and no experience than one with a rotten attitude and years of experience. If employees possess a good attitude, they will have the ability absorb the knowledge, skills, and abilities that are essential to perform their tasks effectively in the workplace.

Principle #4: Appreciate attitude but respect intelligence.

It is true that both attitude and intelligence are essential to improve the organizational bottom line. If HR leaders find it is tough to get both, they should choose attitude over intelligence as it helps accomplish organizational goals and objectives.

Principle #5: Hire slow, fire fast.

HR leaders must be slow in hiring the right talent for their organizations. They must look for the right mindset, skill set, and tool set in job seekers during recruitment. If they find that bad apples entered into their basket, they must be removed quickly to contain further damage to their organizations.

Principle #6: Shed complexity, wed simplicity.

People today prefer to work in flat organizations rather than tall ones. Tall organizations often have hierarchies with a bureaucratic mindset that doesn’t work in the present context. Gen Yers are happy to work with partners rather than with bosses. So shed complexity and wed simplicity to achieve organizational excellence and effectiveness.

Principle #7: HR leaders are king and queen makers.

Presently, there is an impression globally that HR leaders are king and queen makers. They cannot become kings and queens. They are perceived as people who become ladders for others to climb to higher positions. It is due to the roles and responsibilities they undertake. HR leaders are masters of their trades, not jacks of other trades. They know everything about HR, but they don’t necessarily know much about other aspects in the organization. CEOs are masters in their own domains and jacks of other domains. They are masters in their areas and know something about others areas. Thus, HR leaders must acquire knowledge about other areas and acquire technical and business acumen to become kings and queens—the chief executives.

Principle #8: To serve is to lead and live.

Mahatma Gandhi once remarked, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” HR leaders must serve people with pleasure without any pressure. They must become torchbearers of human capital and knowledge. They must learn, unlearn, and relearn to stay relevant.

Your Most Valuable Asset

Renee West once said, “You can have the best strategy and the best building in the world, but if you don’t have the hearts and minds of the people who work with you, none of it comes to life.” So always emphasize people more than strategy. Emphasize men, not machines. Reinvent the principles of HR to stay ahead of your times and technologies. Your most valuable asset is your precious human resources. Make sure employees go home happily and return to the office with excitement. Remember, your employees are your brand ambassadors. Care for them, respect them, and retain them to accomplish your organizational goals and objectives, and to grow as a soft leader.

“I am convinced that nothing we do is more important than hiring and developing people. At the end of the day you bet on people, not on strategies.” —Lawrence Bossidy, GE

Professor M.S.Rao, Ph.D., is an international leadership guru and leadership educator, executive coach, speaker, and consultant. He has 34 years of experience and is the author of 30 books including 21 Success Sutras for Leaders (http://www.amazon.com/21-Success-Sutras-Leaders-ebook/dp/B00AK98ELI) that was ranked as one of the Top 10 Leadership Books of the Year – 2013 by San Diego University. His award-winning bookSuccess Tools for CEO Coaches: Be a Learner, Leader, and Ladder,” is the Community Award Winner for 2014 by Small Business Trends (http://bookawards.smallbiztrends.com/management-2014/success-tools-for-ceo-coaches-8/). His award-winning book, “Smart Leadership: Lessons for Leaders” (http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00D9S8SCW) has been published as a Spanish language e-book. His vision is to build 1 million students as global leaders by 2030 (http://professormsraovision2030.blogspot.in). He has been honored as an upcoming International Leadership Guru by Leadership Gurus International (http://www.globalgurus.org/leadership/upcoming.php) and listed as one of the leading achievers around the world in Marquis Who’s Who in the World in 2013. He serves as an advisor and judge for several international organizations, including Global Leadership Awards, Malaysia. He received the International Coach of the Year 2013 Award from Comprehensive Coaching U, Inc. http://www.terrilevine.com/coachoftheyear/winners.html Professor Rao coined an innovative teaching tool called Meka’s Method; a leadership teaching tool, 11E Leadership Grid; and a new leadership tool called Soft Leadership Grid, based on his new leadership style, “Soft Leadership” copyrighted with Jossey Bass. He led a Webinar on Soft leadership organized by International Leadership Association (http://www.ila-net.org/Webinars/Archive/Rao082012.html). A No.1 ranked speaker in India, reviews can be found at: http://speakerpedia.com/speakers/professor-msrao. Books can be found at: www.amazon.com/gp/pdp/profile/A16SKI0396UBRP. Most of his work is available free of charge in his four blogs http://professormsraovision2030.blogspot.in, http://profmsr.blogspot.com, http://professormsrao.blogspot.com and http://professormsraoguru.blogspot.com. You can e-mail him at msrlctrg@gmail.com and follow on Twitter at @professormsrao Contact him via e-mail at msrlctrg@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter at @professormsrao.

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