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12 2012

Human Resources Strategy 2012

Syndicated from: balance-AND-results

After pounding away at specific areas of strategy it can help to take an overall look at the subject, in our case, for HR to see if much has or should change and get perspective. Stepping back, the budding changes are quite plain. With the IBM CEO survey mentioned previously showing some major trends in CEO thinking, we can start from there. First, companies are struggling to be a lot more creative or innovative and that means a lot more collaborative. The two clearly go together. Creativity escalates when everyone is allowed, encouraged and supported to engage their minds in new directions and to dig deeper into old, seemingly intractable problems for new solutions (so called “thinking both outside and inside the box.”) It’s at least as important to find better answers within existing constraints as to find brand new territories for expansion and growth. Sometimes the interplay of the two is actually most productive of all. The drive to both greater creativity and collaboration requires a coaching-style leadership, through questions, encouragement and support rather than orders, telling or command. Leadership development remains almost the top concern in virtually every organization although it is, as always, edged out by the immediate. Whether HR can find better leaders and creative people to bring in is almost inevitably still the typical first imperative of talent management. It seems a tad too hopeful to expect that busy managers will easily give up the idea that someone ‘out there’ can solve all their problems if HR can just find them. The ideal alternative is to recognize that coaching that can bring a large number of existing staff toward great contributions. A 5% increase in average productivity in most departments would easily outweigh the contributions of a single new hire, no matter how well they walk on water, especially since about half of them will fail or fall seriously short in one way or another. Innovation develops most when one person comes up with an idea and others build on it. It chokes off in command and control structures, especially where intense competition exists so that who owns a given idea is a matter of grave concern, where careers may depend on who stole what idea from whom in these unhealthy cultures. What’s needed instead is a fairly secure group of people who eagerly collaborate in shaping better ideas than any of them could alone. Internal politics and who’s liked best will always play a role in human affairs, but the less is evident it is, the more comfortable people will be in sharing and bringing up problems that nervous groups fear to mention. Trust builds with security. If someone has to be disciplined or let go, it’s important for people to understand, if not every detail, at least that fairness was fully exercised. Beyond these key imperatives, globalization continues to be a growing issue for many organizations, not just big ones, but with the communication and research tools at hand via the Internet it has become as easy as it ever will be to take on these issues. Of course nothing will eliminate the need for administrative work, HRIS and better systems for tracking information, courses taken and more. More technology will continue to evolve with new tools for sharing information (social networking or knowledge-sharing where the lines are blurring). But these are essentially tools, with a learning curve, but tools rather than strategies. Considerable amounts of this can be outsourced if that is cheaper or more effective. Then there are the quasi-administrative matters that are dangerous to try to outsource – daily legal and union issues, discipline, general employee relations and policy decisions that need to be understood well, fitted to the culture and directed effectively in-house no matter how the delivery of other ‘administrative-type’ processes may be handled. Whether direction of ‘green’ initiatives, social responsibility or volunteer/charity matters are focused in-house or through external expertise, there is still a role of fitting these to the organization culture as well. And finally mergers, acquisitions, spin-offs, major downsizings and other “projects” can keep HR too busy to focus on the key priorities that pay off long term. So HR remains a job filled to the brim with ever-evolving ‘stuff to keep up with’ and try to keep ahead of – legislation, unions, triple bottom line and related reporting and more. Yet it also is growing significantly in importance for the overall health, longevity and results of organizations in its strategic role of moving senior and middle executives toward true collaboration, inclusion, respect and coaching-style leadership. The burning question is how we find time for this most important role which is the key to an organization surviving and thriving economically in the midst of today’s rapidly evolving competition. If your organization isn’t moving forward in these areas, others are. Although we are now ‘at the table’ it often happens we’re kept to busy with immediate issues to be allowed much room to help with change at the top. Bookmark and share this post More »

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