Wednesday, June 20, 2012

HR and Influence



I had the pleasure of having breakfast with one of my most favorite people both personally and professionally.  Nancy Vepraskas, SPHR with P2Excellence is one of the coolest HR professionals I know.  I can remember when I first met Nancy thinking, "Oh that is what being strategic looks like."(she doesn't remind me of Lady GaGa, but she has influence like the Lady!)

Anyway, we had an interesting conversation and part of it was focused on HR and influence.

It happens to be a topic that Nancy and I are very passionate about.  I had just done a webinar on the topic yesterday, so feel free to check out the recorded version here.  (scroll down to recent webinars and archive will be up Thursday 6/21, COB)

Let's think abut the word influence:


Influence as a verb is defined as to affect or alter by indirect or intangible means

Well, I think the above definition just about sums up HR with the words “indirect” or “intangible”.  We have been in charge of a firm’s “intangible” assets or its intellectual capital for decades.   What we often try to measure in HR is intangible.  In HR, we want to affect change, affect the bottom line, and affect business outcomes. 

Since I have been in HR I have seen many phases our profession has gone through:

  1. Personnel Phase-where it was all about command and control, policies and procedures and employee picnics. HR was a necessary evil and didn’t have influence with strategy or the C-Suite. 
  2. “Seat at the table Phase” where it was all about TALKING about getting a seat at the table but not really doing anything to EARN that seat.  We wanted to be involved in the strategic planning process but never really got involved in the execution phase of strategy.  
  3. HR Influence stage-Bersin refers to it as “Business driven HR” -I believe this is where we are today.  HR has the power to influence managers to be better, to influence employee' to perform better,  influence CEOs to invest in the right things as far as people are concerned

When you have influence you have respect….I believe that is where HR wants to be; a respected function in the organization.  ITS ABOUT TIME.  I believe NOW is the right time for HR influence!  

What do you think?  Should HR have influence?  Does HR need influence?  Join this important conversation...
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