Monday, July 21, 2008

Are we Crazy or is it a Craze?

I have to admit that the terminology being used with the organizational development challenges is starting to get sensational in nature. When I read the highlights of an article that appeared in the 2nd Quarter of 2008 issue of the Organizational Development Journal, the title of article was: “The Human Craze: Human Performance Improvement and Employee Engagement”. “Craze” to me is certainly an unusual word to use in relationship of OD and productivity and/or engagement.

The “craze” refers to the need for Human Resources Professionals and Departments to focus on human productivity improvement and engagement as a way to create a competitive advantage for their companies or organizations. What have the Human Resources professionals or departments been doing before this? If they were interested in performance, productivity or engagement, where have they been hiding?

I do not find that most HR Professionals have been given the opportunity to demonstrate their business acumen to the rest of the executive team in terms of metrically contributing to the success of the organization. I am frustrated with the fact that unless the challenge becomes a problem, there is no focus toward the people. It is focused externally toward the market conditions and internally toward the reduction in operating expenses. This may of course include layoffs to reduce payroll and benefit expenses. Today we find ourselves in a very reactive marketplace and most HR professionals need to step up and be more proactive. They are sitting back awaiting the direction to move forward in a reactive position with things like hiring freezes, elimination of training programs and incentive programs, and eliminating unnecessary benefits or lowering healthcare costs.

I would like to see the title of the article read, “The New Craze: Corporate Leadership Turns to HR” to provide the process for developing the strengths of their people to better react to the current economic climate and market conditions. I really feel that the strengths of the people within an organization can make the difference and to maximize people’s strengths we have to focus on their talent and contribution to the overall success of the organization. Personal productivity and individual performance adds up to corporate success and has done so for centuries. So, why isn’t the HR community focused on human development and performance improvement? Maybe they just don’t know how. If the HR professional doesn’t get more involved, the talented people will find a company that provides the engagement and development and move on.

If you’re in HR and are reading this, tell me how you have been proactive in this reactive business world! I’d like to hear success stories.

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