You’ve got the seat at the table; what are you doing with it?

seat-at-the-tableI have 40 years of experience as an HR executive, authored a book about Repurposing HR, and have a healthy following in social media on my articles related to positioning HR as a business partner. Heck I even got an “HR seat at the table” article published in hbr.org. My experience and study tells me that HR has an opportunity to dramatically influence organizations both in business and in the human aspects of the organization. I don’t think we are doing that; at least I hear that from colleagues.

But I’m beginning to sense that there is a semantics issue for those that do have “a seat at the table.”  I’m pretty sure that the CAO/CHRO for Wells Fargo had a seat at the table. She was actually listed in their proxy, meaning that she is one of the top executives in the organization.

So assuming she had the seat at the table, and held the influence that denotes, why are all the stories coming out about how HR let the employees down, and ultimately, let the company down.  I’ve talked before about the HR role being a dual advocacy – for both the employee and the organization – because at the end of the day, a damaged organization isn’t much good to the employees. (more…)