Thursday, January 19, 2017

The HR Ice Cream Truck

The Society for Human Resource Management created their competency model with the intention of solving today's most pressing people issues. This year, our blog squad is tasked with exploring the SHRM Competency Wheel. You'll get a variety of viewpoints that translate how these competencies serve workforce development.

As you survey the 9 behavioral traits of the competency model, you may question their relevance to Employee Engagement. You may also wonder how rigid competency should be in modeling workforce strategy... ? Many will fall back on modeling with little intent to waver beyond structure, others will paint outside the lines. All of the aforementioned will serve as healthy debate leading into and departing #SHRM17.

Let's start with the role Communication plays in building workforce strategy.

Ask the every day employee to share their reaction when they see an email from HR & you may receive the following feedback:
  1. Is it open enrollment again... ?
  2. Is it time for the annual employee survey again.... ?
  3. Did I forget to sign my performance evaluation.... ?
  4. Am I busted?
None of the above would sit perfectly in our desire to be viewed as the organization's Most Important Business Unit , but such is our occupational hazard.

The key to Leadership in Human Resources is converting perception from "people police" to "strategic workforce advocates". Communication is king/queen!

HR needs to make a decision:

When you roll into the room (or someones inbox for that reason) do you arrive in an Ice Cream Truck or a Cop Car?

The distinction can be the difference in pro-active leadership vs. reactive service at the complaint window.

Here are your keys to the HR Ice Cream Truck:
1. Employee Engagement
2. Leadership in the Generational Shift
3. The Bridge Between Managers & Employees

Internal Marketers of Good Will
Why do employees historically avoid HR?

One simple reason: Trust!

Instead of HR communicating an 800 number in advance of open enrollment, a secret message when a complaint is filed or legal advice to belligerent leaders; we need to position ourselves as Internal Marketers of Good Will.

What are we doing in the areas of Employee Engagement?

1. Do you have a platform that allows employees to recognize one another?

CEO's are consistently looking for ways to connect with their employees.

All they need to do is walk the floor at 6 pm on a Friday!

While the sales professionals are at happy hour, Katherine (a single mother of two) is closing out invoices to ensure they get paid. She often goes unnoticed and will not speak up because she cannot afford to lose her job.

2. Public recognition destroys silos!

Employees do not leave companies, they leave managers. Managers will always protect their talent. This helps them retain their best performers while keeping under-performers off the chopping block.

When the recognition of Katherine's after hours contribution goes public. Hidden Talent emerges:
- Introverts are exposed as potential leaders.
- Disconnected business units discover an internal talent pool.
- Those miscast might stay in-house and thrive in other roles.  

Leadership Development through Legacy Planning
Tell a 65 year old middle-manager that you would like for him to be part of a succession planning committee and you'll likely receive a letter from his lawyer.

Baby Boomers holding on to their position on the mantle will be very hesitant to relinquish their knowledge. Every person, however, will come to the realization that the finish line is near.

Ultimately, we all want to pass along what we've been protecting.

Here's where HR comes in......

Mentoring / Reserve-Mentoring / Role Shifting... whatever you want to call it.

Get your senior employees involved with new hires:
- Let them teach a course in your leadership development academy.
- Assign them to junior staff members for a monthly one hour chat.
- Allow them to bring their personal interest into the work place
(if they like to fish, give them the opportunity to take a new hire fishing).

We tend to represent Succession Planning as a changing of the guard... an effort to grab the Old Lady's insight before she departs.

To Put it Bluntly: young people want to learn and old people want to teach!

If you stop referring to employees by the generational category and the limitations of that category, they may just help one another.

The Bottom Line

HR needs to do a critical assessment:

When you receive a complaint from an employee about a manager, how do you approach the situation:

- Do you first go to the manager to warn them that the employee has a complaint (and needs to be controlled).


- Do you engage the employee to help them understand that their voice is being heard and you understand that they are making every effort to make the company better.

Tell The Truth

This area is intrinsically gray and it is the reason why Everyone Hates HR.

We are mid-stream in a time of global workforce change. Why not ride the wave, get out in front of it and show your employees that HR can surf too!

If nothing else..... Pull that Ice Cream Truck into the lot on a Friday Afternoon!

Everyone Loves Ice Cream!

- Dave Kovacovich

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