Friday, June 21, 2013

SHRM13: The State of the Business

This morning HR Professionals across the world catapulted themselves through the office doors full of inspiring new ideas. The SHRM annual conference has concluded, now it is up to us to carry the well-lit torch of knowledge into our organizations. We came to Chicago to learn and share. Through human consensus, however, I can tell you that HR's greatest challenge is ending the stigma!

HR has been categorized as risk adverse, administrative and budget cautious; traits that do not embody business strategy in 2013. I'm here to tell HR they are not alone, every business unit has a skills gap that needs to be addressed. Sales people talk too much, IT professionals don't talk enough, Marketing professionals are too reliant of crowd sourcing, and executives across all departments need to be more receptive to public opinion. It's not an HR thing, it's a Business thing.

The best advice given to HR this week: consider yourself a business professional not a Human Resources employee! With that in mind, let's take a look at the big take aways from the 2013 SHRM annual conference.

Too Much Technology
As a member of the SHRM social media team, I am the first to advocate for technology. What the social media team knows is that social media is a conversation starter not a human stop-gap. Too many people avoided human interaction in the halls of McCormick Place by sitting in the corner with their head in their phone.

Additionally, every vendor seemed to have a technical solution to address HR issues. Got employee morale issues, check out a demo. Need a succession plan, use this survey.

Technology does not solve problems, People solve problems. HR vendors fail by positioning technology as a silver bullet.

Making Leaders Out of Managers
Developmental Feedback is the key to progress. What are we doing to strategically arm our workforce with the ability increase profits, maximize resources and keep our share holders happy? Every manager in every department needs to better connect to their employees. More than empathy, we need strategy. More than process for the sake of process, we need streamlined results.

HR has been tasked with keeping Generation Y happy in the workplace by creating a cool culture. We seem to have forgotten that the majority of line managers are of Generation X. More than gadgets, bean bag chairs and happy hours; we want to solve business problems. We want to make the company profitable. We want to connect employees to a cause they can believe in.

The "skills gap" is not an HR issue! Hit the delete button on Generational stereotyping and start figuring out how to build a revenue stream.

Small Data
We are now analyzing every element of our employees day to determine how to engage them. We want to know the music they listen to, which team they like, and what they are saying about us on Twitter. We have neglected the fact that while said employee may rock out to Surfer Blood on their way to work, when they get to work they want!

Employees don't want us to ask them what they want. They want a confident leadership team with a mission to give them something to believe in.

Where'd You Get Your Information From, Huh?
On several occasions in educational sessions, I heard presenters comment that there is "tons of data to support this claim". Show it to us! Better yet, prove to me that you have process knowledge to back up your recommendation.

Anyone can look at a study released by a consulting group or association and leap to conclusions:
88% percent of employees have commented that they would be somewhat interested in hearing about a mobile solution to workforce engagement. 

...And so we can logically conclude that the employer should buy everyone an i-pad mini and install our software....?

Vendors become Business Partners when they can tell us what their company has done for their customers and why it matters to my company. Anyone can read a white paper (or steal an idea from a competitor) and pretend they have intimate applicable knowledge.

This is where HR's reliance on over-generalized crowd sourcing gets us in trouble. Stop asking for industry best practices, stop asking what your competitors are doing, stop asking for references....and CREATE SOMETHING.....that is unique to your organization and the human beings that advocate your mission!

Don't Forget to Remember!


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