Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Changing the role of HR in the Business Development Process

At the most recent meeting of the Tri-State Human Resource Management Group, three well respected colleagues of mine spent over an hour discussing the why’s and how’s of making the HR department a more strategic partner of the overall business plan for the organization. It was still apparent to me that the majority of organizations still considered the HR function to be transactional in nature and not transformation in any way shape or form.

I found it interesting that the one of the speakers used the 3’C’s – Credibility, Competence, and Courage within their discussion on developing a strategic plan. For me, credibility is to make sure that your department is focused on the vision and mission of the company while understanding the strategy and projected outcomes with this strategy.

Competence relates to the leadership skills to focus each department on formulating a business plan for that provides outcomes that support the company’s forecasts and strategy.

Courage relates to the willingness to try but with the uncertainty of success. This definition is similar to another; responsibility. Responsibility to me is taking on a task or project with not knowing if it can be completed satisfactorily or not.

To be considered for the table, the HR department must be willing to be innovative in terms of goal-orientation, plan development, measuring the results, and be much more results-oriented. This is a new behavior for HR and it is not being readily accepted. It is time for HR to move forward. As one of the speaker stated, “your vision is how you get the full achievement of accomplishing your mission”. Another speaker emphasized the need for HR to provide alignment, integration, and fit to achieve strategic excellence. Isn’t it time that HR changes its attitude, focuses on the desired behavior, formulates the metrics that measure the behavioral change, and become results-oriented?

I always thought HR was where we were expected to change behavior. Maybe we should change ours by asking for help. Remember, in business, it always boils down to performance, performance. . .performance.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Can We Change the Environment?

It was noted in an article I recently read by Scott Flander titled, “When bosses go bad and get rewarded”, which appeared on that at a recent Management Meeting in Philadelphia, it was noted that in over 45% of the cases, employees noted that offensive bosses got promoted instead of “canned”. In over 19% of the cases, nothing happened to the incompetent boss. I chuckled hilariously when it was noted by John Hoover, author of How to Work for an Idiot: Survive and Thrive Without Killing Your Boss, that “the more incompetent someone is, the faster their career takes off”.

My theory is when we have a glutton of bad managers; we certainly have a great number of bad interviewers. In other words, we already have a glutton of bad managers who do not have the skills to change the culture. I honestly feel that companies need to focus on their interviewing process first, and then try to develop their management team second. I find that very few companies are using assessment tools in either the hiring and selection process or their people development process. I hear comments like, the boss does not like assessments, or we can’t open ourselves up to potential employee relations liability. I also find that they don’t have an interviewing process in place and most interviews for key positions are “winged”. I also hear that the company does not have a succession plan or even a pathway for employee development. No one, including anyone on the senior management team or in HR is focused on anything but the “bottom line”. Who cares about our people, are we profitable? No one is defining the metrics needed to improve the situation so what else can we expect but “bad managers”.

Suddenly a “red” light goes off and HR or Management now realizes that their managers really are not exhibiting the skills and competencies needed to take their company to the next level. The good people are leaving and the retention of talent is becoming a real concern……

So I ask, why are not we pulling out all the stops in talent acquisition and retention….or is it that we just want to wait until we get enough bad managers to warrant the need for training……

I think that if we look at talent acquisition and retention as a process and implement training from their orientation period, we might find ourselves focusing on the real leaders of the future.