Monday, December 29, 2008
Now more than ever companies need HR's expertise in the areas of efficiency and performance. The predictions for 2009 are not positive, so we know that we are facing many challenges in the upcoming year. Companies will have to make tough decisions about people and expenses. I believe this is a time where HR can shine. After all, in service related businesses the people costs can make up 60-70% of the overall costs in an organization.
So, forget about the table! Quit talking about the table. Don't worry about the table.
Just BE STRATEGIC...the times are demanding this from HR.
The next question is "what should I do?" I am re-reading one of my favorite books on the subject: Roadmap to Strategic HR: Tunring a Great Idea into a Business Reality by Ralph Christensen. This book is a great read, I highly recommend it.
The following items are my recommendations for HR professionals in 2009:
1) Are there processes that can be streamlined or that can leverage technology without negatively impacting the customer? (HR processes and company processes)
2) Are we getting the most bang for our salary buck? Is everyone performing at a "high-performing" level? If not, why and what is the game plan to get those not performing up to speed or out of the organization?
3) If a reduction in people expenses is necessary, HR should present every option to management with pros and cons and COST IMPACT of each option. (i.e. layoffs,. furloughs, shortened schedules, job shares, etc)
4) Is there training that can be delivered that will make the organization more competitive when the economy does pick up?
5) Can HR be restructured in a more cost effective, efficient way? (generalist vs. specialist, shared services vs. field personnel)
6) Are there tasks that can be outsourced both in HR and company wide to save money?
7) Review benefits philosophy and utilization to see where potential costs savings can be gained. Determine impacts of those decisions to the workforce. Make recommendations before management asks you to cut the benefits budget.
8) Make sure customers are put first in all decisions. Make sure customer service does not suffer from any of the above.
If HR can lead in these areas, you will truly be a business partner with a permanent seat at that table...