Don’t delete me from LinkedIn or block me on Twitter, this is about return on your investment. Business owners & C-level executives hire HR generalists (under sufferance) to ‘deal with’ administrative functions like: payroll, compliance and those pesky staff issues without truly assessing their return on investment.

It might seem unusual considering at wattsnext we make a living consulting to our clients about HR? I refuse to pull any punches, it is time for honesty in the HR industry. I will probably alienate many HR professionals, but the cream will rise to the top and understand.

One of the wattsnext values is ‘tell it as it is’, so here goes…..most generalist HR professionals are grossly overpaid and fail to deliver commercial outcomes.

I am not aiming at junior HR professionals paving their way. Everyone has to start somewhere, more power to the Gen Y & Millennial’s that negotiate 90K salary packages with nothing more than a few university projects and a great personality in their arsenal. 

This is a wakeup call to business owners.

When businesses grow past 10 employees and start to mature it is inevitable staff issues will appear. There are usually no HR frameworks in place to soothe the growing pains. Most staff issues make their way to the boss causing brain tingling frustration.

This is the critical point where business owners panic and as a token gesture hire a permanent HR generalist to appease the masses. Staff are widely recognised as a business’s biggest asset, so better hire someone to ‘deal with them’…….right?

WRONG, this is a waste of time and money and you will not get return on your investment!

Hold your nerve and assess your options, any money invested on reactive, administrative internal HR employees at this stage will inevitably be wasted.

HR delivers return on your investment when it is strategic and commercial. An experienced executive HR manager or a reputable external HR provider can increase the performance, cohesiveness and effectiveness of your staff assets, a low level generalist cannot.

If you are not going to invest in strategic, commercial HR, train an internal administrator and save your money. When you want to drive your business forward, add strategic, commercial HR to your board room table and get a return on your investment.

Author: Ben Watts
Ben is a veteran in the HR space- a forward-thinking leader specialising in functional business structures and people performance techniques. With twenty years’ experience managing large ASX listed corporates across multiple industries, Ben adds depth and expertise to our clients' strategy solutions, genuinely providing a commercial result for their investment.