Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Turn Your HR Audit into a STRATEGIC Audit



Throw away your typical HR audit checklists that ask if you have your posters up and your I-9 forms in order.  Ok, now that I have your attention...

Yes, those things are still important, but all those issues fall under the big heading of "HR Basics" and let's face it.  We have been doing the basics for years....we should know how to make sure time-sheets and applications are in order.

So besides the basics, I am thinking we need to add some strategic components to our HR audits.  Here are just a few topics I think should be analyzed during a COMPLETE STRATEGIC HR audit:

1) Is HR linked and aligned to the overall organizational strategy and by the way, did HR participate in the planning portion of the strategy?
2) What does your HR Scorecard look like?  Are the metrics balanced using efficiency, effectiveness and value metrics?
3) Does the organizational structure support the delivery of HR services that are linked to the organizational strategy?
4) If a structural redesign is necessary do you have the needed competencies to fill the new "boxes?"
5) What do HR customers think about HR services and delivery?
6) What does the C-Suite think about the way HR solves problems and impacts the strategic plan?

So, if your audit process did not cover the items above...you have some more work to do.  What does your audit process look like?  Do you have a best audit practice...do tell!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Constructing an HR "All-Star Team"




As the economy recovers and companies are examining all areas of the business under an efficiency lens, HR is no exception.  There are many blogs, articles and keynotes on the topic of what will HR 2.0 look like.  You hear answers from it should be "blown up" to it should "not even exist" and all iterations in between.

I read a really good article by Dave Zielinksi in August 2010 HR Magazine entitled, "Building a Better HR Team."  Zielinksi discusses Google's "three-thirds" HR staffing model.  Below is the premise for Google's model:

1) 1/3 of the HR team have HR background s and bring expertise in employee relations along with other specialist expertise like benefits and compensation.
2) 1/3 of the HR team has little or no HR background and come from strategic consulting firms or internally from Google's sales and engineering departments.  These individuals are embedded in the business as consultants.
3) 1/3 of the HR team are the quant jocks.  They are statisticians, PhD's in finance and organizational psychology.  Their jib is organizational analytics especially the predictive kind.

Not all organizations have Google's resources and the ability to have PhD's on staff, but the theory behind this model is one that I love.  Here is why:

1) It is very strategic by putting consultants in the business that understand business and help solve problems.
2) Subject matter experts in HR are used as specialist in the right way
3) Analytics is given priority as we truly have to work smarter with less, data allows you to make smarter decisions.

I have been telling my students for years that in HR, or whatever we wind up calling the function, that "we are business people first and HR people second."  Now, that is often met with some very strong opinions but I believe that it is easier to teach a business person HR than it is to teach an HR person the business.  It is not impossible,  but as an HR person you have to have that motivation of really wanting to "get how business runs."

Another interesting aspect of Google's model is that you cross-pollinate between each of the 3 areas mentioned above.  It makes the transitions from business person to HR person and vice versa much easier when you are learning from peers and real time projects.

What would your HR All-Star team look like?  Please give us your feedback on this interesting topic.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

7 Ways HR Can Lead Strategy Execution








There is a reason why two-thirds of all strategy fails...IT'S EXECUTION.

After the strategic planning session is over and the t-shirts and coffee mugs are passed out, the strategy just gets stuck.  In our experience it gets stuck somewhere between Director level and the line level employee.  Here are the reasons we find when we do some digging:

1) The strategic plan is so complicated and no one understands it
2) Employees do not know what to do different in their jobs
3) Managers are not given the tools to communicate the strategy
4) Goals and objectives are not cascaded down to the lowest level
5) Rewards and performance measures are not tied to the new strategy

So, since HR is jockeying for strategic partner status, why not figure out this problem with execution and lead the charge!

Here are 7 ways HR can make a difference in strategy execution:

1) Be a part of or lead the strategic planning process so HR is involved at the beginning
2) Assist in the creation of a SIMPLE document that communicates the plan that is easily understandable for ALL employees
3) Align HR strategy to the new strategy so that all HR programs can impact strategy
4) Redo job descriptions updating new behaviors and/or competencies needed to make strategy successful
5) Align all rewards and performance management to desired outcomes
6) Assist departments to develop goals and objectives needed to execute
7) Assist departments in developing metrics to track progress

I am sure there are more than 7 ways HR can impact execution, how have you assisted your organizations in the strategic arena?

Monday, August 2, 2010

Ready, Set....CHANGE?













As a blogger, I depend on experiences and what I read for many of my topics.  Recently, I have had a topic just present itself in so many ways, I have to write about it.

Many times companies want to be something they are not.  They want to be customer focused, they want to be #1 in their industry, they want to be innovative, they want to be strategic.  

As I look back on my consulting career, the one thing that the companies that want to be something they aren't have in common is this:  A PERCEIVED READINESS FOR CHANGE

Either you are going to do what it takes to close the gaps from where you are to where you want to be or you have HOPE as your strategy.  I HOPE we can become customer focused, just does not cut it.

Let's just say, you want to move your HR department from transactional to strategic because you truly want to focus on the important people issues turning your talent into a competitive advantage.  The first questions you will need to ask yourself are:

1) Are we ready as an organization to put our people strategy first?
2) Are we ready to elevate the TOP HR position to those of equal importance like marketing, operations, R&D etc.
3) Are we ready to make the tough decisions like outsourcing, restructuring, and realigning talent based on our new HR mission?

If all of those answers are yes, then you may be in good shape.  Further digging into the following may be required to determine if your infrastructure, leadership and employees are ready:

1) Determine leadership's ability to facilitate change
2) Analyze infrastructure to make sure it can support the change
3) Determine if organization has rewards in place to motivate new behaviors
4) Analyze goal alignment ACROSS the organization.

By looking at the areas above first, you may save yourself time, energy and money due to lack of execution.  By analyzing these items on the front end, everyone understands the reasons and the stated direction making change easier to accept and buy into.  Not all employees, will be "change ready" as everyone has different "change styles."  (Stay tuned for an upcoming blog on change styles).  But understanding all of these indicators up front make change less painful.

I have a feeling our organizations will be continuously changing from now on as we continue to figure out the "new normal."  I believe HR professionals must get very good at facilitating and leading change efforts.  I agree with Dave Ulrich, it is a very important competency for HR professionals to master.

How have you lead successful change?  Did you do a change readiness exercise?