Tuesday, June 21, 2011

A Challenge to HR

Going into the 2011 Society for Human Resource Management Global Conference, I feel it my duty to re-iterate the "top workplace trends according to HR professionals" conveyed at the onset on 2011:
1. Continuing high cost of employee health care coverage
2. Passage of federal health care legislation
3. Increased global competition for jobs, markets and talent
4. Growing complexity of legal compliance for employers
5. Changes in employee rights due to legislation and/or court rulings
6. Large numbers of Baby Boomers leaving the workforce at around the same time
7. Economic growth of emerging markets such as India, China and Brazil
8. Greater need for cross-cultural understanding/savvy in business settings
9. Growing national budget deficit
10. Greater economic uncertainty and market volatility

In short; Globalization, The Economy, and a whole lot of policy. I guess Laurie Ruettimann was right, HR is all about politics.

How do:
1. Leadership
2. Organizational Strategy
3. Innovation
....fit into the HR notebook?

Should we be concerned that the Administrative stereotypes of Human Resources are re-enforced by the aforementioned survey? If HR really wants a "seat at the table", we need to focus less on legalities and more on our influence in driving organizational strategy.

We need to attract and hire great talent, evolve our company culture with the changing generational dynamic, create programs that drive thought leadership, and foster an employee-centric organizational environment. If these things seem obvious why are they not showing up as our peak concerns. We need to put down the Employee Handbook and pick up the Organizational Playbook.

Every employee in every company starts and ends with HR. We need to be a pipeline from Employee to Senior Managers:
Adopt a Strategic Program Management Plan
Create a Funnel from Employee to CEO
Stop Ignoring the Facts

What Would Google Do...
At the World at Work Global Compensation and Benefits Conference, the Google Compensation Team revealed a case study detailing how they revolutionized Compensation in their organization. Google gave every employee a 10% pay raise and a $1000 spot bonus. As we left their panel discussion a man turned to me and said, "I sure would like to work at a place where 10% pay raises were a reality...but I never will". Many from the conference had similar reactions, but they missed the point. Monica Davis and her team at Google developed a strategic plan for program adoption:
1. Listen to Employees
2. Gather and Analyze Data
3. Obtain Approval
4. Communicate
5. Build a Model
6. Implement

The key of this presentation was not that Google has millions of dollars to shell out on the ready (because they don't). The Google team wanted to show other HR professionals how to be business relevant.

When you come to the board room with data and a communication model to drive employee adoption; the CEO will actually ask you to "sit at the table".

The Voice of the Little People
I've never met a CEO that has any idea of a entry level professional's level of discontent with organizational directives. We implement performance reviews, surveys, and town hall meetings in an effort to gather employee feedback. Most employees feel they will be cast in a bad light if they point out areas of organizational deficiency in these forums. So they keep their mouth shut and work around organizational challenges.

This is where HR needs to assert leadership. Every HR Leader knows where the organization is falling short. With data in hand, and a plan for restructuring, we can be the driving force to organizational improvement.

What are you afraid of..?

Watch Your Back...
I worked for an organization that had a technique. Gather exit feedback from employees...then run to those who have been complained about and warn them to watch their back. This is how mediocre organizations stay mediocre, great employees leave for greener pastures, and bad middle management maintains it's place in marginalizing talent.

We are in denial! We start a 'good ol' boy/girl network' and protect our own. Millions of dollars are spent opening exits for true talent while protecting people who suck at their job. What a shame.

Another opportunity for HR to bang on the Boardroom door and demand attention.

So, as we enter the conference center in Las Vegas for the 2011 SHRM Annual Conference, I want to issue a challenge to every HR professional at every level...

Acquire knowledge to solidify your position as a Change Manager!

Gather tools to improve your strategic approach, the courage to convey information and the uncompromising drive to make your company better!

Don't Forget to Remember!


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