In Part One of: ‘Changing the Face of Human Resources’, we discussed the critical role people play in the success of any business. If people are not changing faster than the market or customers, we face a danger of becoming extinct quickly.
The role of Human Resource (HR) Professionals becoming strategic partners and thinkers is upon us. The first two steps in accomplishing this were ‘Get Your HR People Out Of HR’ and ‘Connect HR to Sales and Marketing’. Here are the remaining three steps:
3. Succession Plan and Anticipate the future
Boomers are retiring. Serious shortages in skilled and non-skill positions are hindering markets. Legislative requirements and precedent setting court cases seemingly occur on a daily basis. Ownership and executive teams speak of new competition, global market changes, fiscal responsibility and future operational challenges but when was the last time your HR manager stood up and gave a “State of the Company” regarding the future of your company’s single largest asset (a.k.a. expenditure) – people? This is where a succession plan becomes highly strategic. Strategic HR will not exist without a demonstrative display of influence in the presence of senior management, directors, board members, and stake holders.
4. Measure HR’s Contribution
HR’s contribution is not as intangible as one would think. HR can easily spend too much time measuring the things that look administrative. Sure attendance and Employee Assistance Program stats reveal things. Problem is they do not make a direct link to making money and they are reactive in nature. How about joining the Sales & Marketing choir when they announce to the world that the initiatives they implemented increased sales by 15%. How about joining operations in their song when they announce increases in customer service scores. How about joining the maintenance department when they announce a reduction in downtime over the previous year. HR can share in the glory when you were the architect of their new training initiative, tying creative incentives to their behavioural outcomes and driving the new accountability system in their department. All of these things can be attached to increased profitability and productivity and that’s measurable HR. Think of the change in mindset and performance if HR professionals were compensated through a performance or commission structure? Just thought we would rock the boat here.
5. Link Training and Learning to Real Business Mandates, Return on Investment
Traditional training approaches have changed significantly in the past few years. Training and learning initiatives are no longer budget spending items. They must now be measured through Return on Investment and impact on the company’s bottom line. Progressive companies no longer send people to training to be fixed or changed. (This methodology rarely worked to begin with.) Linking training to real business mandates and expected outcomes through performance and behavioural change is now the norm.
HR professionals are doing their homework. They are identifying the state of the organizational culture and linking it to the new business reality. Commitments are identified and contributors are being sorted from the critics and cynics through accountability and ownership. Everyone sees the risk if nothing changes and HR is playing the lead role. HR is spending time developing the key players allowing others to follow and get into the game. Leaders own the training and are accountable for ensuring it is taught and measured back into the organization. The HR department is seen as coaches and mentors. (Most of our energy today is spent coaching coaches.) Results are tangible and measured. Intangible results, such as increased morale and communication improvements follow quickly.
By nature man hates change; seldom will he quit his old home till it has actually fallen around his ears. – Thomas Carlyle
It is unanimous amongst economists, academics and business community leaders; the world is changing rapidly. As an owner, you alone cannot foresee or create solutions to respond to new market pressures – you need to harness a greater percentage of your people’s collective talents. HR professionals who understand how to improve profitability and productivity through people know how to do this. It’s time for you to throw down the challenge to HR professionals servicing your company and provide the resources required to succeed.
Nathaniel Branden said, “The first step toward change is awareness. The second is acceptance.” We will add a third step; ACTION.
Mark Goobie, Certified Human Resources Professional (CHRP)
Managing Partner, Braymark Services Inc.
Mark can be reached at 905.321-4178 or firstname.lastname@example.org