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Posts Tagged ‘strategy’

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 »

Great strategists rock my world

Posted by Meg Bear on November 13, 2008

thisway1 I’ve been thinking on this topic off and on for some time.  Trying to figure out how to write such a post and not seem as a complete butt kisser*.  I have since realized that I’m cool with kissing butt when it’s called for, so I took that constraint off and wrote the post anyway.

As luck would have it, I’m in a very fortunate situation having an awesome strategist to work with.  I seem to be very lucky in this regard, in that this is not the first time this has happened.  I consider a strong, smart strategist the most important thing to be successful in a development role.  Why?  Well quite simply, you can never build every cool idea you have.  Being able to find the right set of priorities separates the men from the boys (as it were).  

The single most important thing [for me], in a strategist is when they “call it“.  When they see around the corner where I cannot, and help convince me which way to go.  The bigger the idea, the more foresight the better.  Being able to get to market with something that is innovative is a huge rush for us nerds. 

I have mentioned before that I’m not really an innovator myself, I’m a problem solver.  Being pointed in the direction of the right problems is critical when this is your weakness. 

The question is, how do you find such a person?  That’s tricky since you have to be able to trust someone who knows things you don’t.  Looking into their past track record is useful but finding someone you respect is paramount. 

So here is to all the great strategists out there, you really do rock my world.  For the combination of a great development team and an insightful strategist is really unstoppable.

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*My attempt to use non-offensive language has taken me to unchartered territory, as those of you who know me will attest.  That said, I’ve recently learned that my 3 year old can spell the word b-u-t-t (thanks to her sister) so it has re-entered my vocabulary this week, if only to say “we don’t need to talk like that“.

Posted in leadership, personal | Tagged: | 2 Comments »

Integrated Talent Management, good strategy or fad?

Posted by Meg Bear on July 16, 2008

As you can imagine being a Talent vendor gives us an opportunity to talk to a lot of different customers, partners, analysts, etc.  This is probably one of the reasons I love what I do.  I really can think of nothing better then geeking out with a customer about innovative things they are doing to bring real value to their companies.  I realize that there might be some therapy for this condition, but for now I’m content knowing that I am a real geek and just happen to be fortunate enough to get paid for it.

I’ve been reading Jim’s retrospective on the talent coverage he has done since 2002 and finding interest in his view of the suite and how it has evolved in the past 5-ish years.  Was also talking with Bill Kutik about his HR Technology conference and how the shoot-out this year is about talent suites. To be honest, all of this talk about “best of suite” and “integrated talent management”  has not been sitting well with me lately.  I’ve been struggling to figure out what my beef is, since I do believe in the value that can be realized with a suite.  So why do I feel so negative about all the talk of integrated suites?

I expect that this topic will take me a few posts to figure out, but I decided that getting additional opinions might provide some help, so I decided to blog about it in half-baked form and see what discussion happens.

So what’s the deal?  Isn’t it true that companies can get more value from an integrated talent solution then they can from a silo’d solution (for example in Recruiting or Compensation or Performance Management).  Of course they can.  

But is the real discussion the integration or the vision?  That’s my issue.  I want to talk vision and we all seem to jump into solution. Solution is great, but please tell me that you are clear on what problems you want to solve.  All to often, I find people are wanting a talent management solution because they think that it’s the thing to do.  When I attempt to get more information, I find that they are struggling on some very tactical issues and a vision or a strategy is not even on their radar.  

Let me be clear, I am a big believer in solving tactical issues but I am a bigger believer in having a strategy so that as you solve tactical issues you can avoid having to re-solve them to achieve your strategy.

Here are some things that I would like to see more HR leaders talking about

  1. How do I provide value to the business to achieve their objectives?  Do I have the data and systems I need to do that?
  2. How do I provide a framework for our business to grow and adapt to changes in market conditions? demographics? regulatory requirements? etc?
  3. How do I grow the skills and capabilities of my own HR department to better provide for our business?
  4. How do I build a business case to show the business the value in the programs that I want to offer?
  5. How do I provide value to the C-suite with the products and services we provide?
Instead, I am seeing people mired in definitions of competency libraries or complaining about how hard it is to get reliable analytics.  Sure, an integrated talent solution will help you, but will it help you enough?  I’d argue that technology can only help you if you have a plan to use it effectively.

So, am I just channeling Sisyphus here on a pointless mission, or should I keep hoping for the day that we can have an adult conversation here? 
 

Please sound off in comments, what do you think we should be talking about instead of (or in addition to) a suite?  Or should I just get happy about all the suite discussions, figuring that the value can come later and at least people are headed in the right direction?  Thoughts?

Posted in hr transformation, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , | 6 Comments »

Kids these days

Posted by Meg Bear on April 8, 2008

There has been a lot of talk in the industry about Millennials and how they impact a talent strategy.  Given the age demographic (newly joining the workforce), it is natural that the segment that has been giving this the most attention is the Recruiting process.    Most recruiters today are actively taking advantage of new technologies and social norms to increase their access to a larger (and hopefully more qualified) candidate pool.  This is all goodness.

Today, I’d like to suggest that there is another, equally important part of the talent “wheel” that really must stand up and take notice.  This is the Learning group.  As some of you probably know, this is a topic near and dear to my heart, but like anything that you are close to, I have also been guilty of wanting the answer to be in providing more methods of delivery vs. really needing to re-think the whole business strategy.  Would that it was as simple as providing a few wikis and making eLearning available as a podcast.   I am now convinced that starting with the “delivery will save us” premise, is a recipe to being totally irrelevant within your HR Business strategy in the next 5-10 years.

Watching this video about university learning, is a good start to understanding what is different today in how people learn.  I personally believe that this is not  just a GenY issue.  Even our news channels, which have an over 30 demographic, feel the need to provide an increasingly large volume of content at a more rapid pace.  The world is expecting information faster.  Sure, younger generations are more quick to adapt to this kind of change, but that does not mean that it is only the under 30 crowd that is expecting more today then they have in the past.

How people “learn” and how they are “trained” are often not well aligned in most organizations today.  I believe this problem is growing and that we need to start to think about this in the context of a “Learning strategy” vs. just a Millennial problem.  To that end, I’ve decided to try and articulate what I think is needed for a impactful learning strategy.  I’m sure I’ve missed some things, so please feel free to sound off in the comments with additional ideas.

Meg’s suggestions for a Next Generation Learning strategy

  • Organizational Development and Training organizations need a tighter alignment then the loose “competency gap” relationship they have today.  Companies need to be able to drive the need for learning to individuals based on a wide-variety of “triggers”.  Competencies are certainly one, but what about things like missed objectives, long term career plans, poor customer satisfaction surveys, or even manager or individual observations?
  • Learning groups need to be comfortable expanding their influence and take an active role in the dreaded worlds of knowledge management, informal land experiential learning.  To do this, we must realize that we need a seamless transition for people between formal and informal learning.  Not everything is going to be managed by the catalog and not everything can have the same level of formal monitoring as compliance training. 
  • Take advantage of “wisdom of the crowds” and avoid the tendency to have everything centrally managed.  Tier your programs so that you can get comfortable with the volume of information that is going to naturally come along with the idea of opening up to the unwashed masses.  Don’t run away from these concepts just because they are complex. 
  • Recognize that key learning today is not just coming from static channels, it is also coming from people.  Having better understanding about what human assets you have that can help your organization learn is key.  Who knows what and who is willing to share what they know is going to be one of the key elements to understand.
  • Begin to think about incentive and tracking programs for learning.  What is mission critical for your business?  What learning is needed to make that happen?  How do you drive that learning to the individuals?   How do you help individuals get real value from your learning programs so that they continue to participate?  Understanding individual incentives is key.
  • Be open to the idea that the learning department will turn into a facilitator of learning vs. the source of learning in the organization. 

It is my prediction that learning departments will either embrace this new world and find their place in it, or they will become a third appendage with only compliance as their real value proposition. 

Posted in learning, social network, teams, wisdom of crowds | Tagged: , , , | 4 Comments »

Managers, the weak link of a talent strategy

Posted by Meg Bear on November 28, 2007

I’ve been noodling for some time on the role of managers in a talent strategy.  Specifically, how they can seriously screw it up.  Being a manager myself I understand that I’m violating the glass house principle, but you know that hasn’t stopped me before.

Lets take an easy example to prove my point.  Lets say that your goal as an organization is to develop and engage talent.  Seems that as an HR organization, you would focus your energies on building individual development programs and follow up on employee engagement surveys, right?

Sure, but how does that actually work when you have managers who wont let their teams attend the training?  How does any program provided by HR break past this group that is clearly motivated to horde talent? 

 I’ve long been pondering the idea that for any talent strategy to really work you must first address the pivotal role of manager and find a way to align managers personal goals with the overall talent strategy. 

I would love to hear of cases where companies have been able to effectively make this happen.  Ideas? Experiences?

Posted in engagement | Tagged: , , | 6 Comments »