HR has been here before. HR is familiar with the drill. HR has the same beliefs and expectations, toned down by the passage of time. We know how it will end. Yet a little voice tells HR professionals that this year could be exceptional and different. Another year has arrived for HR.
HR Resolutions, BHAG & Make overs
Once again HR will drink the strawberry kool-aid: New Year resolutions, BHAG (big hairy audacious goals) and life makeovers. It doesn’t last long. Before the end of January, our resolutions have their last gasp and we are not going to resuscitate them. BHAG was nice while it lasted. (If only we didn’t foolishly share it with our boss, and family) And the makeover? As soon as we returned to the office, work happened and life was deferred. HR will be here again in 2012.
Back to HR
From the start of the year, HR hurriedly drinks the kool-aid, going through the different flavours, until they are unduly high on the liquid stuff. HR sips it up, not only for themselves, but also for finance, IT, marketing and operations. Here is to another year of:
1. Business Partners
During the dip from 2008-2010, HR departments lost credibility, unable to effectively partner with line management for bottom line results. Management that had been questioning the value of HR for years, lost patience and in some organisations, closed down the HR department.
People are the most important asset. In the aftermath of the economic meltdown, does anyone believe this cliché anymore? After several rounds of restructuring, companies have let go of managers and highly skilled professionals, together with lower level staff. Talent remains a cost to be cut, not an asset to be valued.
From construction to finance, from commodities to telecoms, there is unrelenting pressure from shareholders to do more, with less. There are more demands from different quarters, to deliver quality results, on time, at the lowest cost. There are more deadlines, whether it is external regulators or internal auditors hanging the noose around your neck. There is more administration, partly due to inefficiencies in many HR systems. With a leaner HR department, you have fewer staff for the same head count. There is less money to float around; you have to struggle for training, wellness and pay.
If you’ve spent much your life ignoring or working around technology, here is to another year of catching up. You still don’t get it? That technology is here to stay and will significantly affect your efforts to attract and retain talent. Are you are still trying to control the medium and conversation with talent, especially Generation Y? Give up a losing battle; you can’t put this genie back in the bottle. Do you still block Facebook and You Tube? But staff continues to access it from their Blackberry? Are you still fighting with the state of the art HR system to do what you expected? Upgrade or explore cloud computing. Late HR adopters are going to lose out in the war for talent.
HR, Exceptional & Different
When it comes to wearing the business partner hat, valuing talent, working more with less and embracing technology, HR has been here before (make it every year since 1999?). Once again, we will want to believe that this year will be different in HR. We want to believe that it is possible for HR to guide the business through these uncertain times. HR wants to exceed the expectations of line management and staff. HR wants to engage talent, starting with those working in HR. And yes, we want to deliver those numbers to shareholders too.
Will you trust the little voice to make this year, in your life and in HR, exceptional and different?
(HR Future, January 2011)