Category: Strategic HR
I recently received this email from a competitor of ours, BLR. While I believe they have excellent compliance resources I also believe they are dead wrong in what is most important.
You see, the #1 goal of HR should be to help grow the company. That’s the biggest risk ownership will ever face. That’s what they tell us in our surveys and in my workshops with them. That means you help hire well, drive performance and retain your winners. Guess what?…do that and chances are you don’t get sued. And, any exposure to an EPLI claim should be capped with the purchase of an EPLI policy.
Unfortunately, the lawyers and compliance publishers want to you live in fear, not abundance. My advice…don’t listen to that nonsense! Get your compliance blocking and tackling in place and then look to be a strategic partner. There are a ton of tools on HR That Works to help you do just that!
We are excited to be able to present this unique and dynamic full-day workshop for Business Owners and HR Executives in the Phoenix/Tempe area on May 22. Learn how you can cut benefits costs by thousands of dollars…per employee! Learn how inspired HR practices can grow the bottom line and your career! Qualifies for 7 strategic HR recertification credits.
I recently attended a great HR meeting presented by the San Diego HR Forum. (www.sdhrforum.com) As the title suggests the goal was to understand how HR can help grow the bottom line.
It was moderated by one of the sharpest people I have ever met, Claudia Schwartz, from HR Results. Here are some of the notes I took at that wonderful session. Note there may be some overlap in the question/answer area:
What made you successful as an HR executive?
- The ability to get along with someone is more important than particular skillsets.
- Educating and selling the HR value.
- Ask how you can help the CEO or managers to be successful.
- A ton of passion and energy.
- Think of other managers as your clients.
- Be prepared to make hard decisions.
- Understand why people make the decisions they do.
- Hire to fill the gap in your own skills and abilities.
- Be highly adaptable.
- Celebrate your HR wins!
- Understand internal and external metrics.
- Provide support and mentoring to help employees conquer that “one thing” that gets in the way of their career success.
What makes for great HR?
- If you’re not generating the change, they will be doing the change to you.
- Importance of establishing credibility your first 3-4 weeks on the job.
- Stay out of the office at first.
- Understand that HR is very much a risk management role.
- Know the business.
- “Ask what’s closest to the dollars.”
- Recruit the best—understand the needs, competitor vulnerability, and appropriate compensation.
- Have business acumen, strategic thinking, influence, and candor.
- Stay away from being the HR police.
- Make sure any HR executives you hire are results-oriented, flexible, and adaptable.
- Look for commitment, drive, energy, and passion.
- Know where you own gaps are. Often it’s a lack of business acumen, which will be boosted by getting an MBA.
- Engage in effective listening, fluent speaking, and curiosity about the work you do and world you live in.
- Be very responsive. Try to get back to everyone within 24 hours.
- One of the greatest challenges is managing the first-time supervisor (we did a webinar on that which is available on HR That Works).
- What benchmarks, metrics, surveys, conversations, scorecards, can you generate?
- Are you attending the right meetings?
- Look to see what talent, infrastructure, and resources are available to you.
- “Listen to what your organization is asking for.”
- “Where is the pain in the organization?”
- “Make sure your strength is in the field.” In other words, don’t get stuck in a corporate headquarter and be disconnected from field operations. If you have a large HR organization, make sure you have HR people reporting to field presidents to create buy-in.
How do you involve all of your business partners
- HR has a sales job to do. Try to make it their idea.
- Agreement is not buy-in.
- Tie in a new idea to an existing successful idea.
- Find out if the manager or supervisor is a trailblazer versus a traditionalist.
- Have a high tolerance for ambiguity.
- Focus on your blocking and tackling before you focus on strategic thinking.
- Keep communicating, keep communicating, keep communicating, keep communicating.
- Most CEOs don’t know HR well, they just want you to get it right.
- Adopt HR as a business partner concept.
- Does HR find out about things after-the-fact or beforehand?
- Think of HR support as a call center. Allow employees to contact you by phone or email and make sure there is responsiveness.
- “What are the people implications of the key initiatives going around the organization?”
While the above notes may seem a bit disjointed, the overall theme of the presentation was not. If I could summarize it in three bullet points it would be:
- The HR opportunity is what you make of it.
- Strategic thinking is great, but blocking and tackling comes first.
- You have to communicate the HR opportunity as most owners and managers don’t fully appreciate it. HR has to be an influencer and has a sales job to do.
The meeting was highly satisfying for me not just because of my excitement about the San Diego Human Resource Forum having access to HR That Works, but because everything that was discussed in that meeting is embedded into the HR That Works program! I encourage you to watch the stored webinars and view the materials for becoming a strategic HR executive.
Reagan Consulting works with insurance agencies nationwide, primarily helping them with financial strategies. While they do not offer HR services they did an excellent study of the HR needs of insurance agencies. Bobby Reagan allowed me to share this report with you because it drives home so much of what I have been saying about the challenges and opportunities in good HR practices for both my agency partners and their clients. The report addresses these core HR functions:
- Recruiting staff positions
- Policies & procedures
- Benefits administration
- Conflict resolution
- Performance reviews
- Payroll administration
The challenges you have as an agency are the same challenges your clients have. When you are ready to take full advantage of HR That Works for your internal operations, as well as that for your clients, we’ll be here to help you do just that!
“Only mediocrity is sure of itself.” –Paulo Coelho
Last month I did a Workshop at the PIHRA convention in Anaheim with the above title. Here are some of the points I made in that workshop:
- Do you believe in HR? If you claim that you do, what risks are you willing to take on behalf of that belief? Asked another way, what would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail? If you have a deep faith in yourself and what you are capable of, are you demanding that you get the opportunity to make a difference? Or does that belief wallow in silence?
- This is the “story” of HR. But it doesn’t have to be your story! I’ve gone so far as to suggest HR executives call themselves anything other than HR! Queen for the Day is better. Or Chief People Officer, Chief Relationship Officer, etc. Fact is, no matter what you get paid or what you can accomplish, the very term “HR” makes an emotional connection which says: administrative.
- Because it has been so under-valued HR is a real opportunity! Most of the competition leaves this opportunity on the table very day. In large part because HR executives don’t know how to make a case for strategic HR. When I speak to CEO groups I go over the math and ROI of HR so they get the investment opportunity. Fact is, in most companies the opportunity is worth at least 10% of annual payroll. So in a $2,000,000 total payroll company that means the opportunity is worth at least $200,000!
- The number one excuse of those in attendance as the reason why they don’t engage in more strategic activity is TIME. Yet few of them have ever taken a time management course (P.S. there’s one on HR That Works I designed). When I coach HR and other executives the first thing I do is have them get crystal clear as to where their time is going and then get them to STOP doing 5 hours of low value work per week. That frees up 20 hours of opportunity time per month. Do you know where your time goes? What will you stop doing for 5 hours per week?
- If we want to get paid we have to understand business and money. One of the great Catch-22’s is the fact that many people in HR are terrible with numbers! Especially if they did not migrate into the role from accounting, etc. In addition, we have to learn how to talk to business owners in a way that gets their attention. Meaning we have to understand revenue and activity equivalents of HR costs. By attending the webinar listed at the end of this article, I’ll show you how to have that conversation the right way.
- When you think of HR do the words creativity, innovation, and fun come to mind? Or do you agree that 99.9% of HR is boring? Which implies…you may be boring?? (I dread the thought.) Again, it doesn’t have to be that way. Where’s your creative edge? What tests and experiments are you running? How robust is your suggestion system? How out of the box are ya? If you haven’t already done so, do yourself a super-big favor and read Gordon MacKenzie’s Orbiting the Giant Hairball. (P.S. Hairball means the policies and procedures people like HR create that can stifle organizations.)
- Do you have an HR plan? Unfortunately most small and mid-sized companies don’t. Do you have a plan for your HR career? As the beautiful May Kay so accurately stated, “Most people plan their vacations better than their careers.” There is no substitute for good planning. Try building a house without one. Or an HR department or career. I am a big fan of rolling 90-day game plans that focus on one strategic objective a month. I also coach my clients to have daily game plans so that they make their day as opposed to everyone else doing it for them.
- Get fired up! What are you waiting for…a next lifetime? It is important to rediscover your BIG WHY’S and make a commitment to attaining them. Whether it be for the company, yourself, your family, your dream adventure, or anyone else you can make a difference with. Being fired up is an inside-out job. Don’t expect others to do it for you.
- Lastly, be prepared to ask for a raise. Not because you want one or need one but because you’ve added so much value that you deserve one. I know that many HR executives are intimidated by money and intimidated by asking for more of it. If you believe in yourself and know you can and make a difference then get paid what are worth or work someplace where you can be fully and financially actualized.
So, if you are one of those people who is not stuck on ordinary, I encourage you to view the HR That Works webinar recording on Getting Paid to Grow the Bottom Line.
Congratulations goes out to four outstanding women who completed the year-long HR That Works Black Belt training program!
From left to right Leslie Thomas, Lisa Hecker, Tootie Norton, and Brenda Boyer.
We are witnessing a great deal of M&A activity once again. While tough times produce many wonderful buying opportunities, all come with inherent risks. There are numerous risks you want to audit for from a human resource perspective including:
- How do the cultures of the two organizations different? Peter Drucker claimed that 2 out of 3 M&A’s fail due to cultural reasons. As Dr. Deming taught us, you have to drive the fear out of the situation. Fear that the acquired executives and employees will not respect your ways of doing business and fear on the part of the newcomers that you won’t be considerate of their insights. Great leaders take these fears head-on so that the M&A doesn’t get destroyed by unnecessary dramas.
- You want to look at the best HR practices from each organization. Does one company hire employees better than the other? How do they manage performance or motivate employees? What standards do they set for promotions? How do they manage compliance concerns? What sorts of training programs do they operate? Who has the “best practices”?
- The M&A process implies there will be a culling of the herd. How will you identify who is left off the bus in a way that doesn’t let go of the wrong employee and prevents you from getting sued in the process? Have your criteria for the inevitable layoffs and terminations been reviewed by employment counsel?
- Compensation and benefits is another very important consideration during the M&A process. Inevitably, executives and employees will be paid differently for doing the same or similar work. This will be an excellent time to revisit your compensation and benefit plans and strategies in general. Are you paying competitive salaries and wages? You have to look to the marketplace for that answer. What would you have to hire one of these employees for today? Are you using competitive benefits? As mentioned in previous posts, a dollar spent on benefits versus a dollar spent on compensation has a greater perceived value to employees. Consider this fact at a time when many companies are looking to shed benefits. Lastly, what can you learn from each other’s incentive programs? What boosts sales or productivity?
HR should be instrumental in making sure the “soft stuff” is addressed during the M&A process. HR That Works Members have access to an entire M&A audit that they should consider using during such a process.
1. Make sure you hire from the bottom of the barrel – Bad employees are great! They will all but guarantee you a life full of drama. Why be on easy street when you can have a work force run amuck with whiners, thieves, liars and con-artists? Besides, who wants to spend the time and money necessary to do extensive interviews, skill tests, background checks and character assessments?
2. Over promise and under deliver – Tell people what you think they want to hear. It’s a lot more expedient than radical honesty. The fun thing is there is absolutely no limit on the amount of promises you can make. If somebody complains about the last promise you made then make him or her a new one. The fact is people want to be lied to. This “walk your talk” integrity stuff is strictly for amateurs.
3. Keep your business plans to yourself – All this talk about sharing your vision, mission and goals is pure bologna. People like to be kept in the dark. Besides, if mushrooms can thrive in that environment why can’t your employees?
4. Control as much as you can – Spending your time trying to empower other people is just so exhausting. Better off engaging in control and manipulation so that they don’t dare think for themselves. If they try to revolt, then bring in the heavy artillery.
5. Give them all 2s – Everybody knows that the way to motivate people is to scare the “you know what” out of them. One of the best ways of doing that is to give them poor performance evaluations. They will be fearful for their jobs and be motivated to work like crazy just to survive. In fact, it’s probably a good idea to give them disciplinary notices on a regular basis whether they deserve them or not.
6. Create internal competition – Ever see rats climb all over each other in order to get at a piece of cheese? Don’t think this doesn’t work with your employees too. Make it very clear there can only be one good employee every month. This is a particularly appropriate strategy in the sales area. Make sure only one person in your sales organization gets that trip to Hawaii every year. The less in the way of best practices they share with each other, the better your odds of motivating them out of a scarcity mentality.
7. Bag the meetings – This business about holding team meetings is highly overrated. Besides, it just takes people away from doing their jobs. The last thing you want to do is give people another excuse not to do their work.
8. Work ‘em ‘til they drop – Squeeze every ounce out of your employees every chance you get. Never mind that you have to pay them overtime or that they may burn out and make tons of mistakes. There’s plenty more bodies where they came from.
9. Ignore today’s compliance obligations – There are so many personnel law obligations that trying to reach the “Golden Shores of Compliance” is a futile effort at best. Better off letting your exposures run rampant and deal with them in the courtroom. Besides, we just love our lawyers.
10. Train solely from within – Or, forget training altogether! Better off recycling ignorance than employing profound knowledge – which can only be gathered from outside of a system.
SPECIAL BONUS SECRET:
11. Forget your commitments – This bonus secret is a real powerful one and brings us full circle. Besides, your workforce probably isn’t very committed to you. They say they want to work for you for years and then they quit after only a couple of months. What’s up with that?
These secrets will all but guarantee your business failure. One last note: Just make sure you bleed the company to a point of extinction before you employ these powerful secrets.
NOTE: If management failure is not your bag, then take full advantage of the HR That Works website!
Watch this short video of Don Phin explaining seven HR strategies that will help every company grow its bottom line.
HR That Works is a strategic HR program that makes good use of technology. HRIS systems are technology driven systems which are administrative in nature (like QuickBooks is for finance) and best at managing employee data…but they too can be used strategically. I came across this article on HRIS programs and I thought it would be of value to both our Partners and our Members:
Software Advice, an online resource for HR software reviews, recently posted their 2011 Market Trends Report for Human Resources Information Systems (HRIS). There is an expected employment growth rate of about 8% over 2011 according to a survey from Manpower’s Outlook. However, that growth will not drive demand for core HRIS systems. Software Advice suggests that firms will better leverage existing systems by implementing new applications. While HRIS demand will remain steady, it is likely that demand for strategic HR software will increase as firms up their hiring efforts and aim for a higher-performing workforce. Leading vendors will enhance their app portfolios through acquisitions, and we can expect to see some new blood in the market as the barriers to entry have lowered considerably in the past few years thanks to new deployment options.
Software Advice decided to track six high-level trends:
- Core HR
- Self-Service Applications
- Management Dashboards
- Strategic HR
- Cloud HR Systems
- New Entrants
You can read about each of these trends individually in the report, but we will dig into one in particular right now: Strategic HR.
The report predicts that this area will be the most active in terms of consolidation activity and will experience noticeable growth over 2011, despite the lowered demand during the recession. Talent management and performance management overlap quite a bit, sharing features such as recruitment automation, applicant tracking, and the onboarding and assessment of employees. Because of these apps, HR software vendors have been able to extend their reach, deploying hiring managers across the entire organizations. There have been several leaders in this area, but there is a micro-trend of core HR vendors entering this space as well. It will be interesting to watch this particular area develop over the year.