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Posts Tagged ‘hr’

Strategic HR

Posted by Sri Subramanian (@whosissri) on September 8, 2011

The CHRO and CFO oversee the two main assets of a company. They have enormous opportunity to add value to the CEO. Yet, they sometimes fall short of expectations.

Their strategic  function is not about setting solid guidelines on depreciation of capital assets, or putting together employee handbooks. Those may be required activities, and if not done right, may cause enormous harm. However, they are not leadership activities.

A good CEO can chart the strategic plan for the company. He can even channel the money, but it is much harder to channel the talent and get everyone aboard. This is where the CHRO can help. However, this involves changing the tone of the HR communications from mandates and legalese to influencing and enabling.

The strategic function of recruiting is not to enforce pay boundaries; it is to get the right people to fill the right jobs. The strategic function of performance reviews is not to get 100% participation; it is to foster career growth. The strategic function of succession management is not to make sure all critical jobs have successors; it is to help find the right successors, wherever they are. The strategic function of benefits is not to pass top heavy tests; but to provide benefits that are best provided via group enrollment. The strategic function of time cards is not to keep record of attendance; but to compute gross margin per product, so we know which products to continue to build.

HR’s strategic function is to breathe, speak, and live this, and to be able to see everything from the lens of the business. The rest is to HR what accounting is to finance. It may sometimes be essential, but it is not strategic.

I have been super lucky to work with HR counterparts who get this. They keep me from the legalese and the HR policies.  They share information with me. They suggest ways I can avoid obstacles. And they focus on helping me get the job done. This is business execution.

Posted in finance, hr transformation, leadership, strategic hr, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Feb 21, 2012 – Are you ready?

Posted by Anders Northeved on January 26, 2011

According to phonecount.com on Feb 21, 2012 (give or take a couple of days I guess…) the number of connected phones will surpass the number of people living on Earth. For everyone that doesn’t have a phone, someone will have two.
Just think about what people would have said if you predicted this 10 or 20 years ago!
I’m sure this already has a profound impact on most people’s life in many ways, but let me just focus on the possibilities for corporate HR programs.

Self Service
Lots of organizations have ripped the benefits of Self Service in their HCM program.
The administrative work has gone down; the HR data are more accurate; it’s easier for the users to get access to information; the user acceptance has gone up and the cost has come down – all well and good if the employees have access to a computer…
But with more and more people having a mobile, we will see the benefits of Self Service come to a lot of areas where people do not have access to computers like retail, production and transport.

With the widespread availability of phones the management has got a new direct communication line to all of their employees.
Want your employees to know about a new product; a new initiative; reward someone; tell everyone how it’s going… a message on the mobile is the answer. 

It’s now possible to get feedback from your entire workforce whether they have access to a computer or not.

Using mobiles for education for people who would otherwise not have access to education has enormous potential.
I would even go so far as to say that the right use of mobiles for education for organizations with employees without access to a computer could be THE competitive advantage that would define whether an organization would be successful or not!

Even if I find these possibilities very exciting, I’m sure there are other areas that could be added to this list.
I would love to see your comments on what other topics within HCM that could be helped or advanced using mobile devices!

 (Photo by Brandon Hall)

Posted in communication, global, hr, HR Technology, learning, predictions | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Do you wear your stripes with pride?

Posted by Louise Barnfield on April 30, 2009

school-uniformMy UK school days have receded into the far too dim-and-distant past, but I still remember our uniform.

Through 9th grade, the winter uniform at our all-girls school (junior high and high combined) was a traditional gray pinafore (skirt and bib), with striped shirt. 10th graders, however, were allowed to ditch the bib and wear a plain gray skirt. (The ultimate was in the final two years at senior and prefect level, when dress-code was further extended to any style of black skirt and solid color shirt.)

A typical ruse of the 9th graders (and later even 8th graders) was to unstitch the bib from the skirt, and replace with some kind of temporary fastening (velcro, poppers, or even just safety pins)! During the day, the bib was dutifully attached, with no outward signs of tampering. However, as soon as they left school premises in the afternoon, to head off into town or meet a group of boyfriends, they ripped off the bibs thereby achieving the appearance and status of those a year senior.

Of course, if they got caught by a teacher ‘sans bib’ there was hell to pay, but that just added to their sense of bravado – sounds pretty tame in comparison to what many teens get up to these days, doesn’t it! 🙂

On the other hand, 10th graders were not amused. They felt they’d earned the right to wear their senior uniform with pride, and that that right was undermined and devalued by the rules not being observed. (…and ‘they’, of course, included those who had themselves played the popper-game a year previously!)

In the military, uniform and rank are strictly observed. Each rank is immediately recognized for exactly what it signifies, by anyone with knowledge of the hierarchy. Officers wear their insignia proudly on their sleeves. There’s no opportunity to hide or misrepresent one’s position.

Not so in the corporate world.

Decades ago, the title of Secretary was a respected position. A true secretary had excellent typing and shorthand skills, as well as a great deal of responsibility for the smooth running of their bosses’ calendars and lives. Then, mere typists started calling themselves secretaries to inflate their resumes. Firms started advertising for personal secretaries, hoping to attract the cream of the crop, then personal secretaries became executive secretaries, until the word fell into such disrepute that the alternative terms Personal Assistant or Executive Assistant were spawned.

In 2007, Wharton School’s Knowledge@Wharton published an excellent article: Chief Receptionist Officer? Title Inflation Hits the C-Suite, discussing the cheapening of titles, and the reasons behind inflation infatuation! But it’s not just C-level; the same issue pervades every level of the corporate chain.

While companies have figured out that “many times it is cheaper to give people a title increase than a raise increase”, I believe they have created a rod for their own backs, not only by devaluing the titles, but more significantly by demeaning and alienating the employees who have genuinely earned their ‘stripes’.

As the article above notes: “Firms should be deliberate about how they give these title awards out to employees, because each additional person who gets a C-level title dilutes the currency of the title structure.”

How meaningful are titles where you work, and does your HR department care? Have you earned your stripes, or are you one of the unjustifiably bib-less? Do you see over-inflated titles as a necessity to represent your company effectively, or just an ego-trip at the expense of others?

Yours sincerely,

Chief Senior Principal Vice Managing Dogsbody and Bottlewasher

Posted in hr, management, teams, top talent, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

Down and out on Wall Street … how can HR benefit?

Posted by Amy Wilson on November 26, 2008

I was hoping that Ann’s lovely post would provide me with Thanksgiving inspiration today, but no, it was Jessica’s exploiting the current economy post that sparked my creativity. So, here goes:

As Jessica points out, there are a lot of smart, talented people that are or will be out of work soon. True, it would be nice to hook them up to your critical jobs and all that. But how about acting selfishly for once? Why not bring them into HR?

Let’s consider the talent profile of a newly out-of-work Bear Stearns, Fannie Mae, WaMu, (insert bank name here) employee:

  • Ambitious, results-oriented
  • Good with numbers and managing to metrics
  • MBA and/or terrific business acumen
  • And, if they’re gen y, may even “want to make a difference”

Sound familiar? This is a close match to the success profile HR needs to turn the corner. Get analytical, business-oriented people into HR. Tie Talent to Finance. Get respect from the business.

Prepare your job req today and brace yourself for the invention of sub-prime talent lending.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , | 2 Comments »

The value of teams

Posted by Meg Bear on December 13, 2007

team.jpgBack in school (go cats), it was all the rage in the business program to have the majority of our work be team-based.  The thinking being, that in a work environment, it is really more about teams then individuals. 

Lately, I’ve been reading and thinking about teams and Talent Management.  Of course, this has taken me all over the place a bit but I’ll do my best to make a point vs. forcing you all to wonder all over the place like I have been. 

One place I ended up was this article on emotional intelligence of teams.   To summarize, its not just important for individuals to have emotional intelligence but its also useful for teams (duh!). 

This article points to the HBR study that gives three contributing factors to high functioning teams.

  • Trust among members

  • A sense of group identity

  • A sense of group efficacy

  • Ok, so teams need to trust each other, define themselves in terms of the group and they must feel, that as a team, they have the ability to actually get something done.  Again, duh!

    Turns out that for some cultures (and for some people) a team dynamic is not just a nice to have.  Thanks to Mark for pointing me to this article that suggests that in Asia the team might be the biggest factor in engagement (see, I told you I’d attempt to bring this to a point).

    In talking to customers about teams, there are several head scratching elements that HR groups face in trying to build teams that work well together.  Why do some teams work well and others not?  Is it one person?  How do we predict which teams will succeed? and so on. 

    In my mind, it is for teams that the value of the social network can be brought to real business benefit. I would like to predict that companies that learn to leverage their social networks as both a productivity tool for teams, and as a tool for proactively identifying team members, will find a new competitive advantage for their talent.  And, if the insight into Asia is accurate, there might be exponential benefit to this strategy as well.

    Posted in engagement, social network, teams | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

    Is Employee Engagement a managers job?

    Posted by Meg Bear on December 5, 2007

    We’ve been talking about Employee Engagement for some time.  How do we engage people, why do we need to engage people – all that touchy/feely stuff that causes some of us to feel warm and fuzzy and others of us to hold back a gag reflex.

    I’ve also been thinking about a Manager’s role in the overall Talent story for some time.  I think that to really do innovative things in Talent you not only need software and a HR vision but you really need solid line managers.  Initiatives like building, sharing and retaining talent fall down quickly with bad managers.  As the saying goes people join a company but they quit their manager.

    I’ve read a few things lately that are food for thought for those of us who are managers.  Now I do not intend to suggest that we as individuals yield our own responsibility to define, nurture and grow our own careers but for those of us who are managers it can’t hurt to check in and see if we could be doing more.

    Here is a quick article that talks about employee engagement and how “managing with a human touch” is a necessary ingredient for that to happen. 

    I also recently read Three signs of a miserable job and found an interesting assertion on the responsibility of a manager.  This book focuses on how a manager is responsible to make the job of their employees something that they can feel positive about.  The most interesting thing that he points out is that the work is not really the most significant factor.  In other words, a movie star, a super model, a professional athlete can be less engaged in their job then a cashier a janitor or a factory worker.   His core points were that

    1. People need to be recognized – he used the word Anonymity as the problem.  Managers need to engage with their teams as people first and employees second.  Yes, here is where the touchy/feely part comes in – if it makes you squirm as a manager then guess what?  Maybe you shouldn’t be in management.  People often confuse what is not legal to ask in an interview process with what they should not ask an employee.  So the question is: do you like your team?  Do you know them?  Do you care about them as people? Do you send them birthday gifts on Facebook? (ok that last part was a joke but you get the idea)
    2. People need to be able to measure their work (Immeasurement)– If you can’t measure what you do or worse if you are measured on something that has no clear connection with what you do then you are probably less satisfied with your job.
    3. People need to see a value in their contribution (Irrelevance)– People want/need to know that they make a difference in the lives of others with their contributions.  One very interesting point he raised is that managers are often not comfortable being clear to their teams that they need them. => So in case there is any doubt for my team – ohmygod do I need you guys 😉

    Posted in engagement, management | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »