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HR Best Practices and Competitiveness

We are obsessed with HR best practices. We love challenging benchmarks, those great success stories and examples to be followed and the complex people management procedures of large corporations. However, we have to take in mind what our business needs. Is it something complicated that almost no one understands? Is it the best practice we can blindly follow? Alternatively, do our employees wish to use the system that suits their preferences and needs? Do not we kill or impact strongly our competitiveness by implementing the best in class solution that works great in another business?

We love to watch presentations where the results of the research are summarized and commented by the experienced HR consultant. They always look amazing and surprising. They promise a high productivity and employee engagement increase. The key message is usually straightforward and easy to understand. They just do not show all obstacles to be solved during the implementation. It just presents the ideal solution without any tailored features to meet the requirements of the business. Does the proposal address the challenges the business faces every day?

We usually forget to ask critical questions about our approved HR strategy when we watch the fancy presentation. You should never allow any consultant change your strategic plan. This plan represents a wider agreement of the leadership team. It represents the vision of the company. You should always ask critical questions during the presentation. Does the proposal suit our needs? How will it improve our competitiveness on the tight job market? How will we fit the project to our HR environment? We forget that it is easy to transfer processes and procedures, but it is the corporate culture that makes solutions successful. As always, it is easy to destroy, and it is hard to build something new.

HR Best Practices and Competitiveness
HR Best Practices and Competitiveness

The organization can hurt the competitiveness if it follows various HR best practices. You can quickly implement a too big solution for a relatively small business. It will hurt your competitiveness on the market. Think twice before applying a new externally designed idea.

First, it has to make a decision what are the strategic areas of a focus. No company can excel in everything. The HR team has to make a proposal what areas it will excel in, and the leadership team has to approve them. Second, everyone in the leadership team has to understand why and how the proposal was approved. No excuses.

Just then, the HR team should monitor all HR benchmarks to find the optimum way. However, it should not implement proposals without a critical evaluation. The strategic thinking is a must when it comes to core competitive advantages. Otherwise, the HR team can fail.

The HR consultant never talks about obstacles. As a consultant, he presents great opportunities (to earn additional income). He benchmarks the proposal against the average non-existent company. He compares the potential client with the best in class HR solution.

Finally, the consultant draws the primary requirements. The commitment is usually among them because the HR advisor understands the proposal can be rejected a few months after the implementation. This refusal reason is regularly called a lack of commitment. Often, it is just the denial of the leadership team because it wants something else. However, the beautiful presentation can suppress our ideas and thinking. We do not think how the solution will improve our HR competitive advantage.

On the other hand, managers and Finance department usually love HR benchmarks. It is an excellent tool to demonstrate the issue of the over-employment in Human Resources. However, they do not realize what HR benchmarks indicate. They do not show the best practice in the industry. They usually combine the least critical HR processes for the particular organization. If the organization X makes a strategic competitive decision to be strong in the talent acquisition, it will not be displayed as the best in the class company. It will focus its resources on the recruitment and staffing procedures. Naturally, it will employ more employees in that HR functional area because it sees the area as a source of the competitive advantage.

All HR Best Practices are a great business opportunity for HR consultants. They do not want to sell the unique solution; they sell what they know. They usually observe a great practice in one organization, and they transfer it to other clients. However, the corporate culture does not like the copy-paste approach. It likes to be designed and cultivated inside the business. It needs to become a core driver of all decisions.

The HR leader has to build a strong relationship with the Finance departments. The finance analysts usually ask for various benchmarks to identify weak and costly spots in the organization. They have to understand the HR strategy, and they have to be aware of the investments required. The company cannot improve its employer brand if it does not invest into it. It can seem like a waste of money in an Excel spreadsheet, but it enhances the productivity of the workforce and employee engagement. Without a healthy relationship HR costs and headcount will always be under attack.

Various HR best practices can inspire your strategic thinking. That is how you should use all HR best practices and benchmarks. You should not hurt your competitiveness; you should just enrich a few strategic ideas. Human Resources should run the internal discussion what topics and ideas seem promising. They should be critically evaluated against the HR strategy. They should not be seen as examples to be followed; they should be regarded as an inspiration.

The best HR organization never implements HR best practices. It creates them, and it has many followers and copycats. However, they do not have the same tremendous results because they do not transfer the corporate culture and leadership values. They copy and paste processes and procedures; they cannot copy employees, leaders and the spirit of the business. The HR team has to cultivate Human Resources function to be different from competitors. It is the best way how to become the one to be followed and copied.

A highly competitive business always builds the unique corporate culture (it is a sustainable basis for the competitiveness). Employees love the company because it is not the same as other organizations around. They can be proud that they work for the team that brings great products and services. They love to talk about Human Resources because it is something others do not enjoy. It is the best way how to build the employer brand. Be unique and evaluate carefully all HR best practices.

Best HR Management Articles, week 34

Next week, the summer will start turning to the Fall (sure, the real Autumn begins on September 21st). Yeah, another week of 2016 is over. Once again, Human Resources will enter its high season. Everyone starts to think about getting back to the office. We have to think about goals and objectives again. The fall is always about catching things, projects and initiatives to be eligible for the bonus. So, there is no article about goal setting and rewards management. They will come later because the modern business requires innovative thinking and ideas in these two critical areas. This time, my selection of the best HR Management articles is about the corporate culture, wrong promotions and how to avoid them, failing diversity initiatives in large organizations and finally – success is a matter of a positive mindset.

The talent acquisition becomes hotter and hotter topic for most HR professionals. Managers and leaders open many vacancies, and Human Resources is not able to deliver top talents. In some cases, we are not able to provide anyone. The job stays posted for weeks, and nobody applies for it. The job market changes dramatically again. We usually do not understand what job applicants look for. That is the reason why I start with the recruitment and staffing issues.

What the modern job applicant looks for …

As the excellent recruitment strategy in the war for talents becomes the critical success factors, more organizations start to ask job applicants what are the essential information required to make an affirmative decision about the business. They just do not ask relevant facts and data about the organization. They want to see the company serving local communities.

Each HR professional has a different view what is critical to job applicants. You will always discover many various topics, and each business function prefers other benefits. However, everyone shares one – it is the corporate culture. We know that some companies enjoy better internal atmosphere than direct and indirect competitors. They have the advantage because employees like them. The recruitment and staffing procedures have to advertise the positives of the company. Processes must clearly state what are the fundamental values of the potential employer.

Best HR Management Articles, w34
Best HR Management Articles, w34

Human Resources has to ask all applicants what were the key reasons to apply for the role. Most candidates will talk about the need for a change in their lives. However, after a while, they will start talking about the corporate culture. They will spot what they like and what they do not value. It is a great lesson learned for HR managers.

How the wrong people get promoted …

You know the story of the guy who was great in his sales role. He was promoted to lead a small team. The results were not that perfect, but he was still one of the best. Later, he was finally promoted to become the leader of the large sales team. Moreover, he just failed in the role. We always keep promoting the wrong people.

We always expect that the expert is also a great manager and leader. Also, we always repeat this fundamental managerial mistake. However, they usually do not want to lead anyone. They want to perform and reach purely individual results. They want to achieve goals sooner than others. They do not like teamwork; they do not trust others. Human Resources usually warns the rest of the leadership team, but they have to dismiss such an employee later.

There also other reasons why the wrong people get promoted. Just read the article to find out more. It is a great story how HR managers can fail.

Corporate diversity programs do not work

A diverse team always brings richer and more creative results. Yup, diversity translates into profits. All team members have to find the agreement, and they can improve proposals coming from different backgrounds. No large multinational corporation does not support diversity. However, results of the corporate diversity programs are disappointing.

Human Resources can protect rights of particular groups of employees, but it cannot bring a successful program without the support of the leadership team. HR has to find rich recruitment sources that bring enough candidates from targeted minorities. Everyone should understand that all performance standards are the same for each employee. No excuses.

Building diverse teams is about the full commitment of the leadership team; HR has no power to push the idea through all managerial levels. Leaders have to promote the great opportunity to enrich the strategic thinking of the organization. It is their job; Human Resources has to find the best way how to hire new employees from minorities.

Winning Companies lead with a new corporate culture mindset

This is another great article about the corporate culture – one of performance and result driven organizations. Today, you cannot hide your real values and behaviors. The successful company has to keep its promises; it has to engage and empower employees to keep innovations coming. Most organizations advertise the corporate culture they want; they do not talk about the environment they have.

Winning teams do not speak of the customer-centric internal environment; they just act. They make sure all employees understand that the client is the only source of the cash. They allow employees to make exceptions to keep customers satisfied. Moreover, they promote the importance of fair and valuable internal relationships because they build the trust. These businesses have the purpose and profits in balance. They have the story why they exist and what experience they provide to customers.

They clearly value the timely delivery of results, consistent quality and tolerate occasional failures. They are friendly to new joiners, and they provide excellent induction programs. However, they do not tolerate when any employee breaks the ground rules. All staff understands what is not tolerable in the workplace. On the other hand, they promote the positive approach.

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How to improve employee productivity

Being a strategic partner, Human Resources cannot ignore the employee efficiency issue. HR has a shared responsibility with other business leaders to increase the operational effectiveness of the organization. The competitiveness of the firm always depends strongly on the productivity of the workforce. The best organizations outperform competitors, and this competitive advantage allows them to invest in the research and development. They can invest into new markets and run the business at a loss there. Moreover, these companies invest into the development of employees. Being the top performer from the performance and productivity point of view brings tremendous benefits, and it has no weaknesses. However, the increase of the employee productivity is a complex task for the leadership team, because it is the essential component of the employer brand.

Also, it is important to mention that by the improvement we usually mean the sustainable increase of the labor productivity. Most managers still do not think out-of-the-box when it comes to new people management practices in the business. They still use old ways that do not work today. Employees have more opportunities to change the job, and the fear as a management tool does not work anymore. The active stimulation is always a plus; in this case, it is a must. Just the highly engaged and motivated employee can think about the job creatively and propose relevant improvement and changes. Managers are not the best source of innovations; employees are.

The employee productivity improvement should always be a long-term initiative. Most leaders and managers are great in gaining a short-term increase, but it is usually followed by a long slide again if it is not supported by the fundamental changes in the organization. The constant pressure on employees does not work as the best management tool. It brings a tremendous result, but they are not sustainable. Moreover, the workforce does not respond positively to another wave. They expect the same approach just repackaged again. Another mistake is mixing employee engagement and employee satisfaction. The satisfied workforce does not have to be the most efficient one.

How to improve employee productivity
How to improve employee productivity

From the financial point of view, the employee productivity is always reflected in net profits. The best performing organizations always have a higher net profit per headcount than the competitors. It is a source of a very strong competitive advantage. These businesses have found a secret how to produce more with fewer resources. They can also use it as a communication tool towards employees. Everyone want to work for a winner. No one intends to work for a loser. Each man in the company wants to be proud of the employer. He can identify with a strong brand name of the company. He can promote different techniques used in the business, and he can promote the corporate culture and values. Everything mentioned has a significant influence on net profits.

The productivity in the workplace is always a question of the management. It makes the issue highly complex because Human Resources cannot bring a significant improvement without influencing and changing the mind of the line management. Most managers have to change their approach to manage employees, and they have to become true partners. Employees can usually run their tasks autonomously, and they just require help. They do not want to be told how they should perform individual tasks. It is also about the mismatch of employees´ and managers´ expectations.

There is a great employee productivity measure that indicates a significant yet hidden issue. It is the retention of the key personnel. When top performers and high potentials start to leave the organization, it is a sign that the business will significantly suffer in coming days. They usually talk about better job opportunities, but they do not see a future for them in the business. They do not ask for a change because they gave up. It is a serious leadership issue that needs an immediate attention of the CEO. It is not just another mission impossible task for Human Resources.

The best way how to improve the employee productivity

First, Human Resources has to make sure that all leaders understand their roles in the business. The employee morale is not a responsibility that can be delegated to lower hierarchy levels. It always starts with the CEO. She always acts as the role model. If the CEO is positive and open minded, most managers will follow this attitude. It is the role of Human Resources to teach the CEO how to demonstrate the full ownership and accountability for the employee productivity. If there is no owner, Human Resources has no chance to bring a better operating model. It would rather not start any initiative.

Most leaders and managers do not know where to start. They know they can upgrade and increase personal goals and objectives. However, this is not the right approach. They should focus on employees first. They have to ask them where they see the potential. Employees have to express what they miss in the business. The Employee Engagement Survey is the best tool how to catch emotions, feelings, and ideas in the organization.

It has to be followed by several closely focused workshops where employees can talk about results. Employees are the ones who know everything about questions asked in the questionnaire. They can evaluate the position of the organization against competitors. It is usually based on interesting facts, and the leadership team should know them. The team should also understand them. The CEO has to ask employees to be open, honest and willing to change the business. He can ask individual groups to compose the action plan that can be prioritized later.

The leadership has to read the action plan carefully. It usually contains small visible improvements in the workspace and individual cubicles. Employees often wish a quieter workplace, more colors and a better relax area. These items are easy to improve, and the leadership team should take actions quickly to keep the momentum. However, there are issues about the corporate culture, Human Resources and management practices used in the company. These are much harder to tackle and require a coordinated and committed answer from leaders.

Next, it is time to update the HR strategy. It has to reflect all findings from the employee survey. It is usually about the corporate culture and the need to improve managerially and leadership skills in the organization. It has to strengthen the role of the direct superior. It also has to introduce a new look at the empowerment and delegation skills. Most managers do not like changes that limit their power. However, the business is in danger, and they have to understand that without this transformation the organization will die. Managers are usually the biggest obstacle to improving the employee productivity. The update has to focus on a new and meaningful goal setting procedure. We usually stick to old processes that do not work anymore.

The last step to improve the employee productivity is the change of strategic planning processes. The leadership has to invite employees; everyone has to feel the opportunity to influence the future of the business. This is the only way how to make sure that the organization does not stop and stagnate. It has to gain its speed again.

How to design a great business HR Strategy

The competitive and performance driven organization always set up a great HR team that creates an excellent HR Strategy. This company always invest in the people management practices. However, even the best business in the world does not implement a great strategic piece of work in one go. It represents the commitment of the leaders to design and develop a great one. The leader takes over the ownership of the entire exercise. It is not just a just a job of Human Resources. It can prepare the one, but the leadership team has to own it and demonstrate the accountability. It is a source of the long-term competitive advantage. All leaders in the firm have to implement particular projects and initiatives. The HR team has to play the role of the glue to ensure that the big picture makes the sense.

It often happens that the people misinterpret the strategic planning and the strategy. These terms are not same. The higher in the organizational hierarchy we tend to mark our tasks strategic. However, we usually participate in planning sessions. We do not design a new strategy for the business.

In a performance and goal driven organization, the HR team has a clear aim to develop attractive and efficient policies and practices. It is about the internal environment, corporate culture and individual and personal commitment of all team members. They are all committed to bringing the most suitable solutions for the business. The mature HR Management practices and policies are always the key driver of any changes in the company. However, how does the company design an excellent and competitive HR strategy?

A great HR Strategy
A great HR Strategy

A story always starts with the leader of the organization. She has to share the vision with the team. She has to engage everyone, and she has to draw a clear picture of the excellent company in the future. The plan cannot be short-term, and it has to be challenging. Easy plans do not raise any personal commitment. Everyone want to be a part of a great story. We all want to be mentioned on the first page of the newspapers (positively).

Next, the leader needs to design or update the business strategy in close collaboration with the team that elaborates the vision in higher detail. The team has to turn the idea into desired objectives and descriptions of the successful accomplishment. It still does not include any specific HR initiatives. It just sets the boundaries for the function in the organization. It puts the essential components of the corporate strategy in place. It also indicates required and preferred skills and competencies. Without the business strategy, HR cannot define its one.

This is the moment for the HR team when it can join the effort. They were represented just by the HR director so far. In larger organizations HR senior managers can be included in strategic talks and discussions. However, from this moment, the team can start formulating the HR mission and the HR strategy. They cannot start before the business is ready to communicate the general vision because employees could not see any connection between the leadership team and Human Resources.

However, it is important to clarify the question of the ownership right from the beginning. The CEO is the owner of the final product; she can delegate the implementation responsibility. She cannot delegate the accountability. If this question is not clearly answered, the team will bring a solution that is never implemented. A great HR strategy usually brings significant gains, but it also pains.

Moreover, there is always a close cooperation between the HR and Leadership teams in the performance driven organization. It creates the internal environment that supports and enables creativity, a competitiveness and the collaboration across teams. This business always defines and implements the open and honest corporate culture. During all sessions the participation of senior managers from other functions is essential. This is the best way how to make sure that all immediate and valuable feedback is incorporated.

Human Resources has to produce the functional story from the wider business one. Each strategy has to tell a story that is attractive to the audience. Employees have to see the clear future, and they have to find a clear position in it. They have to dream about the challenging journey. They have to imagine all benefits.

All HR Managers have to allocate time to communicate and engage. No story can catch all hearts immediately. HR employees have to become the Angels promoting and explaining the content. They have to find all positive examples. They have to present the HR roadmap. They have to explain what are the key milestones.

A great HR strategy is not a complicated document. It is a journey that is challenging and achievable. Employees can recognize that it is not just a dream of a few chosen employees. They have to find a place for everyone who is willing to join the adventure. They have to see much fun. They have to see the recognition for everyone who helps.

Best HR Management Articles, week 33

My selection of the best HR management articles is clearly focused this time. It is all about the leadership and the management style, people management approaches, performance-driven corporate culture and unlucky top performers. There is also a small bonus – why Monster failed. The summer is turning slowly into the fall. I suppose the activity of all fellow HR bloggers will increase soon, as well. The community is still very active, but I expect they all think about new creative ideas to improve their marks.

Moreover, I want to have more articles to comment. I like the first article about the image of Human Resources most. It describes the reality we enjoy. Also, it covers the future challenges all HR professionals will face. It also shows the HR roadmap how to become the valuable strategic partner.

Why we will all love new HR

I will start with the optimistic article about the future of Human Resources. It covers the leadership development in general. The HR Manager will become one of the most valuable employees shortly because all organizations will face many issues like the aging workforce, competitiveness, and millennials. Yup, even millennials will become the issue because their approach to work is not compatible with the current corporate set-up. It will become a great dilemma for all leaders.

It emphasizes the strategic planning and the necessity to include Human Resources into it. The HR professionals can bring a new perspective; they can also hear interesting insights from job applicants. They have to be the essential part of the core strategic team.

Best HR Management Articles, week 33
Best HR Management Articles, week 33

HR will have to introduce a new workforce planning procedures shortly. The competitive organization has to predict all needs in advance, and HR will have to discover the predictive analytics. Working in Human Resources will be fun, once again.

Dear Leaders: Please revisit your corporate culture

A great leader cannot exist without a friendly and honest corporate culture. Also, many best talents research the approach of the organization before they agree to join the company. Most performance-driven businesses advertise their values; they also post examples. Right now, it is time to revisit our corporate culture. We cannot do any significant changes without touching it.

It is often linked with the retention issue in the firm. Many employees leave because they cannot live values and accepted unethical behavior of others. They leave because they look for a more friendly, fair and honest environment. We usually do not see our internal environment as the unfriendly one. We have to ask employees regularly how they feel.

There is another issue – we have to mix the new corporate culture that can cover all groups of employees. It is not just about the age, race or sexual orientation. Even a small start-up business is multicultural, and we have to unlock the potential and creative of all.

So, let us start solving this leadership challenge.

Wellness is a Culture

Well-being becomes an imperative for HR leaders. We love to work, but we cannot just work. The employer has to create the environment that supports our work-life balance. It is not just about paying any fitness contribution. Well-being needs to become an essential part of our DNA.

It is also about turning line managers into real wellness champions. Employees tend to stay long at work when the manager stays. They do not want to look lazy. It is a great challenge for both because the change of behavior needs to start at a top of the business. It means that the CEO has to participate in the program. She has to sponsor it.

Wellness should not be seen as a pure benefit. It is the feature of the corporate culture. This should change how Human Resources communicates the program to employees. Being healthy and fit becomes one of the main HR roles.

People Who Create Find New Ways to Thrive.

It is a pretty short article inspired by the movie “The Wolf of Wall Street”. However, it looks at the film from the HR perspective. It does not judge any person; it clearly summarizes what happened after.

Mr. Belfort is a successful speaker who earns money by making speeches about being a successful sales guy. The market believes that he is the man who creates the value. It is clear evidence that success is not just about meeting goals. The networking is the essential success component, as well.

Each Talent Manager has to find right opportunities for the employees in the program. She has to ensure that all participants have the chance to be visible in the business. The leaders will not remember just results. They tend to remember faces.

Why Monster failed

Do you remember It was a large corporation, but it is pretty tiny today. It was one of the first websites specialized in job searches. It was great for connecting candidates and HR recruiters. However, those great times are over. It was bought by Randstad. LinkedIn dominates the field today because it acts as a social network.

It is a great story of a company that was once an industry leader. It was just too slow in innovations. LinkedIn came with the idea of a friendly network that is not focused purely on Human Resources. It offered to make connections. It was the beginning of the end of Monster.

All leaders should read the story to be brave enough. They have to make tough decisions that can turn their businesses to LinkedIn ones. It the winner of this battle. Even it was bought by Microsoft lately.

Talent Management Strategy Update Urgently Needed

For many years there was no any significant difference between the strategic talent management and the well-defined recruitment strategy. Most organizations did not make any strategic decision about managing the life cycle of the workforce. Most employees were hired for a job, and they were left alone to find another job opportunity inside or outside the business. Human Resources played no proactive role in the process. It was just the manager who was supposed to manage the process of acquiring new skills and competencies within his or her team. This traditional approach does not work anymore. Nowadays, the talent management strategy is an essential part of modern HR Management practices.

Employees generally love organizations that invest into the meaningful development of the workforce. Each man likes to choose the way how to grow and gain new skills and capabilities. He or she wants to learn new things and they want to enrich their thinking about responsibilities. Everyone wants to become more valuable to the organization, and he or she wants to be invited to and heard during strategic sessions. No one intends to stay as the junior analyst when there is the opportunity to become the senior expert in the functional area. That is the basic idea behind the talent management strategy.

Moreover, organizations face enormous staffing and recruitment issues. In most cases, it is not the business who make the final decision. It is the job candidate or the employee. They can refuse the offer because it does not match with their personal career plans. Just to make it more difficult, it will become worse and worse. The position of Human Resources will even worsen shortly. This makes a great business case for the update of the talent management strategy.

Talent Management Strategy Update
Talent Management Strategy Update

The visible and impactful update is not just about publishing and distributing a new talent management handbook. It is about the complete redesign of the approach of the organization. It is about embedding the talent management and management into a company´s DNA. Each and every manager has to invest a significant proportion of the working time into coaching and mentoring sessions with all direct reports. All line managers have to be trained to be valuable development partners for employees. They have to collaborate with Human Resources to identify all best options across departments, branches, cities and even continents.

First, Human Resources has to implement robust predictive analytics tools in Talent Management. The global system generates a lot of data, and HR Managers have to access required information instantly. The HR technical solutions have to produce early warning automatically because most HR leaders are blind when it comes to predicting shortages of talents. They always spot the most demanded skills and capabilities. However, they do not have any data about specific market niches.

The HR team has to understand what is the current status of the organization and what are the principal dangers in the future. A competitive business always finds best talents on the market and matches them with the internal needs and requirements.

Second, a new recruitment strategy needs to reflect requirements of the competitive and performance driven business. The staffing procedures have to become proactive. Currently, we usually post a vacancy, and we just wait for job applications. The driving idea behind the active Talent Acquisition is different. HR should not wait for talents to come. HR has to actively scan the job market and offer all the best talents to line managers. They should identify a challenging opportunity for a highly motivated person.

On the other hand, Human Resources has to make sure that it scan the market a clever way. It cannot attract potential candidates and have no offer for most of them in the end. That is the reason to use the predictive analytics. It provides clear guidance to HR recruiters which skills and competencies are the most promising ones.

Third, Human Resources has to strengthen the role of the succession planning. Top Talents come and leave. No organization has resources to keep them all. A great succession plan is the essential component of the talent development. It clearly navigates employees to gain most promising skills, capabilities, and competencies. It provides no guarantee, but it increases the chance of being promoted at the right time. It usually comes sooner than later.

A succession planning should not be strict and administrative; it has to play the role of the regular organizational health check. Managers have to feel no worries to reflect an actual status of their teams. They should clearly indicate strengths and weaknesses of particular teams. They offer best talents to other managers because they can enrich the team, as well. That is the core purpose of the tool.

Fourth, the updated talent management strategy has to cover all employees. It is not just about the recruitment and new hires. Also, the intensive development driven by the organization can be strictly focused on selected groups of key employees. However, the snapshot of the business has to be clearly captured. Employees have to understand how the system works. They have to accept that there are certain rules to be included in the selected group. Otherwise, the turnover will quickly indicate that the solution is not efficient and working.

Human Resources as a Strategic Partner

The position of the HR Business Partner has evolved as one of four strategic roles in the book by Dave Ulrich. This book is like the Bible of Human Resources. All HR leaders quickly introduced the model where Human Resources was expected to act as the partner of business leaders. It introduced some chaos into our world because the change was more painful than anticipated in the beginning. Some twenty years later, we have another challenge. We aim to introduce the model of the HR strategic partnership.

The HR Business Partner is a great job; a person in the role can see the positive impact of Human Resources on the organization. She manages and executes critical HR policies and procedures in the close collaboration with internal clients. Also, she shares the responsibility – goals and objectives are the same for the internal customer and the business partner. It all started with the introduction of the business oriented Human Resources function that keeps employees in mind. HR can never be purely business driven; it has to protect the rights and interests of the workforce.

Moreover, David Ulrich also introduced a new HR competency model. He introduced six essential HR competencies that every successful HR professional has to fulfill. They are strategic positioner, credible activist, capability builder, change champion, innovator and technology proponent. Each competency is a game changer in Human Resources because it puts the people management practices into a different perspective (more about six essential HR competencies).

Dave Ulrich changed the passive approach into the active one. He apparently expected HR Managers to become agile promoters of positive shifts in the organization. It was a significant shift in the mindset of HR leaders. Many of them fight with this new role so far. They want to keep the secure compliance position of the department. Being the change agent you have to take and accept risks. You can fail. On the other hand you can win a lot.

Human Resources as a Strategic Partner
Human Resources as a Strategic Partner

The another significant game changer was a dramatic change of the business environment. The globalization (it is also the HR challenge) and the speed of innovations have increased the pressure on leadership teams. They have to predict moves of many competitors; they have to focus on building loyal customer base. They have to allow employees use the creativity.

As a result, leaders have changed their expectations from Human Resources departments. The proactive approach is a must; the competitive advantage is a benefit. The pressure to introduce innovative HR processes and procedures has increased dramatically. Nowaday, we usually call it the HR transformation. The strategic partnership became a new HR buzzword.

We had to return to the six strategic competencies as they were defined by Dave Ulrich. They are the core strengths behind the strategic partnership between HR managers and business leaders. It makes a significant difference – the proactive approach and the business acumen.

The HR organization is at a crossing again. The transformation to the strategic partner is not just about rewriting the job title. It is about a new vision of Human Resources. It is also about another upgrade of skills and competencies.

The HR Manager needs to be proactive to become the member of the strategic planning group. Most organizations have informal groups of employees who decide about the future of the business. The HR professionals have to become the vital member of the core team. No organization has the future without great people management practices.

HR leaders have to make a difficult choice. The road to the future is bumpy. It will not be an easy transformation for most HR employees. They will have to gain new skills and competencies, again. They will have to build trustful strategic partnership with internal clients. They will have to provoke many discussions how the business can enrich its practices. They will have to stand behind their words. It will be a painful period but the new and better HR function will raise.

Best HR Management Articles, week 32

This is my selection of best HR Management articles for the week 32/2016. The summer is in the middle, and the activity of all HR bloggers get impacted by their vacations. They have other things in mind than writing articles for the HR community. However, I have chosen several ones that I have read. I found the information contained very useful for me.

This week´s selection is about BYOD policies, HR and IT relationship, aging workforce and talent analytics. They share the modern technology and innovative approaches. We usually forget to open our eyes and look into other departments to gain some inspiration. However, Human Resources cannot afford to stop its development. Feel free to be inspired.

Bring Your Own Device

BYOD policy is always about the trust and data protection. Most organizations realize significant cost savings from allowing employees to bring their own device. Most employees have better computers at home than they are provided by employers. It is usually good for the business, and it has a positive impact on employee engagement. On the other hand, many firms do not find a suitable IT solution that prevents potential data leakage. A BYOD security will be always a priority.

Best HR Management Articles, week 32
Best HR Management Articles, week 32

PayScale covers a great story about BYOD policies. It clearly states that the satisfaction of employees increases when they are allowed to use their computers at work. They do not have to think about taking two computers to holidays. They have all information at fingertips. It also risks that employees will be working seven days a week without taking any break. The organization needs to put some basic rules and principles in place – both for staff and managers.

Also, Human Resources has to propose the development of BYOD policy. All employees have to follow certain rules to ensure the data protection and data privacy. It is the same story as the social media policy. You cannot prohibit them, but you can put certain rules and recommendations in place. Most employees will follow them voluntarily.

How HR can learn from IT a lot

Both IT and Human Resources provide services to other business units in the organization. Also, there is a significant difference between those two kinds in the company. IT always like the new technology and helps other to adopt it. HR is usually seen as the administrative department that requires a signature on each piece of paper.

HR should learn from IT how to introduce new innovative processes, self-service to save headcount and new products and services. IT has no fear to begin a significant change; they understand the mess will disappear. They know how to make employees use new features and technologies.

Moreover, IT knows how to limit the interaction with end users to an absolute minimum. IT professionals always introduce self-service solutions to allow employees do most of the tasks on their own. They always choose tasks consuming the most time of dedicated skilled IT employees.

It is a great learning opportunity for the HR organization. We can improve our systems to allow employees do things on their own. We can teach managers how to produce reports from the HR software. Moreover, we can teach HR professionals how to get most of our current HR solution in place.

How to keep the business productive with the aging workforce

We know about the increasing danger of aging workforce (it is one of HR challenges), but we usually ignore it. We just try to hire the fresh blood from the job market. However, we know that young talents will be a scarce resource available on the job market. We still do not put in place policies and practices to keep the aging workforce productive and employed.

On the other hand, innovative organizations put policies in place to keep aging employees productive and happy. They are pioneers, but they build a competitive advantage we can miss in the future. They will have the experience we will start to build from the scratch.

We have still time to start with our experiments. We should learn from pioneers, follow and expand their experiences. Human Resources is the business function to demonstrate opportunities we have to explore. Go for it.

Talent Analytics as the Competitive Advantage

The predictive analytics still find its way to Human Resources. We measure many HR KPIs, but they do not look into the future. We always describe the past of the business. We do not raise any raising issues because the burning platform is hot when we notice the hot topic or issue.

The talent management is one HR functions that can act as “test-and-learn” target area. It is critical for the future of the organization. On the other hand, the leadership team can still recognize individual steps. The HR team can learn using the immediate feedback received from leaders.

The HR analytics and HR big data are the future technologies we have to start use today. Be brave and start right now. It is a great starting point to introduce the predictive talent analytics.

Pay for Performance and Employee Motivation

Leaders and Managers want to make Human Resources fully accountable for the employee motivation. They tend to make anyone in the business accountable at the moment when the motivation of employees decreases and the profitability of the business is on a steady decline. In such a moment, the pay for performance can be seen as the right tool to engage employees and boost the productivity and performance again. However, there is always one person who makes a significant difference – the direct manager of the team. The monetary motivation works as an efficient short term motivator, but it does not last long. It does not buy hearts of employees; it buys only hands.

It is crucial to distinguish between roles of Human Resources and the line manager. HR designs and develops tools for managers to keep employees engaged and motivated. The line manager has to use tools provided by Human Resources to retain employees motivated. Managers always forget that the motivation of direct reports is a crucial part of the manager’s job profile. Moreover, they have more tools than just the salary and other reward components.

It is a common HR Issue. HR has to support managers, but it should not give them the incentive scheme that manages employees instead of managers. HR has to find the right balance between monetary motivation and development programs for managers.

Human Resources should advertize that the pay for performance concept does not cure all pains of the people management in the organization. The key player is the line manager. The pay for performance can help to ease the immediate depression. However, monetary motivation does not last long. Most employees get used to having a higher income in months or weeks. It just becomes a new standard. The organization has demotivated staff and higher cost base.

Pay for Performance
Pay for Performance

Managers like the pay for performance incentive scheme because they do not have to focus on a daily management and leadership of the team. Employees can easily translate the plan into right actions to earn more. Managers expect the incentive scheme to manage employees. Managers just make sure that the plan pays fair money.

However, the manager has to be able to lead the team without any additional money or resources. Most employees are happy with the base salary (if it is aligned with the common market practice), and they do value the recognition more than just an additional package. The recognition of the manager motivates and engages employees more.

On the other hand, HR should design the pay for performance scheme that recognizes top performers and allows employees to bring some extra cash home. However, it should not play a significant role and make employees depending on the incentive plan. The extra money should be a sweet carrot, not a necessity to pay bills.

The pay for performance incentive scheme has no significant impact on positive motivation of employees. They just understand the plan as another opportunity to earn more cash. They do not see the plan as an offer from the company. They see it as a tool. They just realize that targets are challenging, and many employees will not reach the threshold to receive a minimum payout. In such a case employees will be just demotivated.

Human Resources needs to develop skills of managers to engage teams. Engaged employee has a high performance and trusts the company. These employees find new creative ways how to make the business more profitable and how to beat the competition on the market. This should be a priority Number One for Human Resources in any organization.

Employee motivation is a crucial topic for Human Resources in every organization. HR needs to ask employees and managers about feelings and emotions in the company. It has to design action plans, design new tools and cancel procedures that do not work anymore.

HR has to compose the right mix of the pay for performance and the efficient recognition schemes. Most employees remember how they were recognized, they do not remember the annual bonus received last year. They just check it when they want to compare the latest bonus with the previous one. Sometimes, they can get upset.

Monetary motivation is a short term motivation. It can be long term, but it costs a lot because employees realize a difference between 100 dollars today or 150 dollars next year. They will choose the first option because they will benefit immediately.

The long-term incentive scheme is always about the significant proportion of the salary. The employee can double or triple the income if all conditions are met. The company has to fund the long-term incentive scheme from the day one, and costs of such a solution can be enormous.

The pay for performance can boost the productivity of employees – short term. The performance will decline within few months if there are no other changes following the introduction of the plan. Most employees cannot reach higher sales volumes because they just try as hard as possible. The plan can just demotivate them and in the end – they can stop trying to reach ambitious goals.

Each leadership team should not focus just on monetary motivation. Leaders have to push managers to use other tools to motivate and engage employees. Today, the business changes rapidly, and the company can stop its growth during just one quarter. In such a case, the leadership team struggles to find the best remuneration scheme for quarters of declining sales and profits. Honestly, the pay for performance incentive plan does not help in this situation. It can demotivate, and things just worsen.

Mission Critical HR Goals and Objectives 2016

Human Resources enjoys great times; leaders value HR as a strategic business partner. It is the fundamental source of the sustainable competitive advantage. Most leaders listen to their HR people carefully because they bring valuable and beneficial proposals. It is a sign that the trust between leaders and HR Department grows. A company that runs great HR practices is more profitable and more attractive to top talents. Human Resources should build its future using this firm foundation. It should reflect the required changes in HR Goals and Objectives 2016.

We can divide HR Goals and Objectives 2016 into three big HR topics on our agenda:

  • Employee Engagement and Employee Empowerment;
  • Performance and Productivity;
  • HR Marketing.

Employee Engagement & Employee Empowerment as HR Goals and Objectives 2016

Employee engagement and empowerment are essential success ingredients for each business. However, we usually fail to design, develop and cultivate the environment supporting these cultural imperatives. They should not be important just in 2016. However, next year will be the challenging one. We are at the end of the growth cycle, and just the best organizations will continue growing during the coming recession. That is the reason engagement and empowerment need to be supported strongly by HR Goals and Objectives 2016.

HR Goals and Objectives 2016
HR Goals and Objectives 2016

The job market and work habits change; it is the employee market again, not the employer one. It always has always worked like that for top talents and recognized talents. However, most employees can change the job within days today. They just have to make a decision about leaving the job they have. Moreover, the employers that can build a strong relationship with employees have a lower turnover and higher productivity. This is the key reason Human Resources has to put employee engagement into HR Goals and Objectives. However, HR cannot reach this goal just by only writing engagement on the HR priority list. HR can achieve a high level of employee engagement through different activities that should act as individual HR Goals.

Diverse team bring better results because they tend to think about the solution from different angles and points of view. The team finds a solution that meets most requirements and balances features and costs. Human Resources has to support the diversity in the organization. Moreover, diverse teams are not worried to ask to be empowered. They want to protect a team decision, and they need the power to push it through all levels of the organization. It should not focus just on the number of female leaders; it has to support the diversity as such. Most employees like to work in organizations that are diverse, and all voices are equal. HR has to support various approaches and solutions across the entire business. HR has to keep the diversity as a key HR Objective 2016.

Millennials are the workforce generation that is currently coming to the job market. They demand jobs and leadership style that is different from habits of their parents. They do not like to build a long term career within one organization; they like challenging short term projects. The organization needs to adapt to offer job opportunities for this new workforce, and it has to protect its know-how. It is the another HR Goal 2016.

Performance and Productivity as HR Goals and Objectives 2016

HR as a valuable business partner recognizes the importance of productivity, performance and efficiency. It needs to continue to increase the credibility of Human Resources in the company. It has to speak the same language with other leaders. It has to calculate cost-benefit analyzes for all proposals before coming to the Board Room. It needs to increase its financial literacy. It has to become an integral part of HR Goals and Objectives 2016.

Human Resources needs to discover its ROI and how to influence it positively. Human Resources has to evaluate the efficiency of provided programs and activities for employees. It has to propose to the leadership team that procedures should be stopped and which should be widely promoted. HR ROI needs to become one of the strongest communication tools with the leadership team.

Human Resources needs to redesign the Performance Management process again. The performance appraisal does not work for Millennials and the value added of the PM process can be questioned. Most employees do not gain any benefits from the procedure; Human Resources needs to revive the process to make it useful and act as the engagement tool. Employees like challenging goals, but they should not be rewarded as they meet them. It limits taking healthy risks; no one likes to risk when the bonus is on a stake. They should innovate without risking the comfort of their families.

The innovation management is still a painful process in most organizations that has a significant impact on future profits of the business. They are seen the as the key of the company growth. However, most companies do not support employees in creativity. They do not cultivate new ideas and proposals. They build barriers and design various complex evaluation criteria to slow down innovations. HR has to become the employee advocate again. It has to create new processes and procedures that support employees in bringing new proposals to the table. Proposals need to be widely discussed, and the informed decision has to be made. It needs to become an integral part of HR Goals and Objectives 2016.

HR Technologies have developed substantially over past few years. Cloud technologies change the way we see IT today. It is easy and cheap to rent the system, no internal resources are required, and the vendors make systems reliable and stable. We will not buy the new system or develop internally. We will just rent the solution and pay per the employee using the system. It is flexible, and it can bring significant savings. Human Resources has to make the organization ready to accept HR solutions in the cloud.

HR Marketing in 2016

Millennials are picky; they do not accept job offers coming from all companies. They choose companies with the compelling story, great visions, and socially responsible approach. They prefer the experience over salaries. They want to enjoy every day at work; they want to learn new things and explore new great relationships. They do not build the career as we did in the past. The HR Marketing becomes essential to attract Millennials.

Human Resources has to support the Corporate Social Responsibility. CSR is necessary for the new workforce; employees want to be sure the company supports local communities and does not focus just on profits. They wish to feel that they contribute to making the world a better place for all. They do not require big gestures, but they require the sustainable approach. HR has to do it a part of its objectives.

Moreover, HR has to strengthen its social media skills. Most millennials know about job vacancies from Twitter or LinkedIn. They do not visit regular job boards because they use the Internet differently. HR has to cover many topics about the organization in media to become attractive to the new young workforce. HR needs to invest in its engagement skills to become the attractive employer again.

Ongoing HR Goals and Objectives

Other initiatives should become an integral part of HR Goals and Objectives. HR has to make sure that the organization grows new leaders. HR has to make sure it understand the business. It has to develop its financial management skills to become a valuable partner during Board Meetings. It has to change the Talent Acquisition processes to attract more millennials. Moreover, HR has to focus on the development of the Human Resources function.

The leadership development is a strategic imperative that cannot be just an objective for a single year. No business can survive without a strong succession planning process. It can be successful for few years, but it lacks the next generation of leaders who can develop the organization further. The company needs to be ready to replace the current leader at any moment within hours or days. There must be a contingency plan in a place.

The HR Development and the Business Acumen are closely connected. Evolving as the strategic business partner, Human Resources Professionals need to understand the financial management. They need to propose solutions that are beneficial for the organization. They have to calculate Cost Benefit Analysis that can survive the review with the Finance Department. HR has to lead changes in the organization, and it needs to gain additional skills and competencies. It needs to attract the high-quality talents from universities; it has to design individual development programs aimed just purely on HR employees of the future.