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Lessons from Ulrich for the Church of England - Eve's Commonplace
Lessons from Ulrich for the Church of England

Dave Ulrich, the Patron Saint of HR, has sought to rescue HR from the scrap-heap by re-negotiating its role in organisations. Consigned to a non-core wilderness marked ‘overheads’, with residual responsibilities for tea and sympathy and not a little paperwork, HR had been cut off from its constituency, with the devolution of its responsibilities to the line. In a similar way, the Church has been told that, spirituality now being a matter of personal choice and conscience, its role is now to be largely ceremonial – hatches, matches, dispatches, and not a little paperwork. Ulrich has pointed out, however, that you cannot divorce HR from the business agenda it seeks to serve. In order for it to add value it must be involved more strategically, allowing it to intervene proactively before it must respond reactively, problems having arisen in its absence. Roles such as ‘business partner’ and ‘change agent’ allow HR to contribute to the strategic agenda by making sure that the people within the organisation are ready, able and willing to deliver the company’s business objectives. In the same way, should not the Church of England, rather than bowing to the ‘inevitable’ disestablishment, start interesting itself more proactively in the UK’s strategic agenda? HR has a unique overview across an organisation, freed from ties of loyalty to specific functional areas, and as such has a non-partisan finger on the pulse of the organisation’s culture. So too the Church of England, with its 100% coverage of the counties of England and its involvement in myriad communities, schools and Parliament. Use the privilege before you lose it – show your worth to the Board of England plc before it’s too late.

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