Every Human Resource Professional I know wants either more respect or a seat at the Executive Conference Table. If this is true, then why aren’t more Human Resources Professionals getting the respect they deserve and desire.
Likewise, when I talk to both C-Level Executives and Middle Management Executives I hear a similar tone regarding the respect level towards the HR teams. These Executives want their Human Resources Professional to be more Strategic in their thinking and take an active Leadership position in acquiring and developing the talent needed for the future success of their organization.
The Good news from this research is the overall goal for both Executives and Human Resource Professionals are the same – get to the Executive Conference Table while taking a clear strategic leadership approach for the Talent Management side of the business.
The question is now what steps must a Human Resource Professional execute to get the respect they desire and deserve in this critical success position. Ultimately, you earn it by being a proactive leader by enhancing the overall performance and productivity of the organization. Your expertise comes from using the selection and development resources processes for now and the future.
Here are the eight keys to moving to into a Strategic HR Leadership position…
1. Position the HR Team
Sounds like a marketing function, yet it is your job. Begin to think and act like a Strategic Leader by using ROI in your discussions, measure things related to productivity and report the progress of key indicators of performance. An example would be to calculate productivity numbers like dividing a division or company sales by payroll or number of employees. This will provide a measureable number to track regarding industry trends, standards, and the quality of management policies upon performance. Also, track the trends and be prepared to explain changes.
2. Discover Patterns & Change Opportunities
Anticipate more and react less. One of the major complaints I hear from executives is their HR team reacts to people issues rather than proactively develop ideas, standards, or improvements for the organization. Detect breaks in continuity – think and talk about Business models; network with others to learn new ideas about your profession. And, most importantly, Beware of Biases! Bias can include simple misunderstandings as to the purpose of a project needed to improve the performance of a specific team or key individual. Remaining true to the Status Quo shows a lack of leadership skills. Leaders are constantly thinking about how to improve their area of responsibility and you should also.
3. Guide Communication and Culture
Help to create your culture. One of the major mistakes I see in corporations is a lack of attention for the development of a specific corporate culture. Too many HR Professionals allow the culture to set itself, which is a major mistake. As the leader of the Human Resource Group, one of your critical jobs is to assist in the creation and nurturing of a preferred culture. Think high energy and high performance culture to guide your success. Use communication to exchange information, deal with conflicts in an open and honest manner, learn to trade off issues for the good of the whole, and make better decisions for the good of the organization rather than maintaining the status quo. It is your social system (which will be discussed in point 8) so make it more formalized.
4. Match Jobs and People
Many companies look like a pile of jig-saw puzzle pieces rather than a work of art. It is your leadership responsibility to find the talent for current AND future needs. Find the people whose strengths match the traits needed for the job or position to produce superior performance.
Systemize the selection process and use some objective data as part of the process. Many organizations only use subjective processes without the insurance of objective validation. You want to be sure you have a high performer in your interview.
Know the non-negotiable criteria of each job or position. Deal with poor performers quickly and decisively. If you don’t others
will see you and the line manager as weak since you are choosing not to deal with a poor performer – therefore it is okay to be a poor performer too! Be careful and manage your reputation at all times.
If you are uncertain about a Job Matching System, please email me email@example.com and I will send you a white paper – “Selecting Superior Performers Safely Under the Law.” This white paper covers the importance of matching job traits and talent traits. Thus, creating a higher energy work environment for your organization.
5. Influencing Other Leaders
This is your responsibility rather than theirs. Your issue is to mold these high-energy, high-powered, and sometimes high ego people into a working functional team with the HR Team. This is necessary for you to synchronize both your efforts and their efforts to propel your company forward. Learning to gain rapport with all the different types of executives and managers is important to you and others.
Being able to speak their language with authority and authenticity helps you gain the rapport necessary to speak candidly and openly about issues or concerns. Robust dialogue is a necessary communication technique with the outcome being greater respect for each other since issues are discussed openly and usually leading to a synergist solution to the issue.
6. Developing Goals with Purpose
This is not about doing the things just because they were done a certain way in the past. Goals are about the future. However, your goals should be constructed with a strong over-riding purpose in mind. What is the Purpose of your HR team? Think bigger than the walls in the office: in fact, in this global environment we live in today you need to apply “global” to your thinking.
Also, in establishing your goals you want to add Quantifiable Goals that drive a RESULT.
7. Pinpointing Priorities
Priorities are the pathway to accomplishing the goals – with purpose – you established in point six. Your challenge in this step is to rise above the daily chaos and work with purpose. People talk about multitasking like it is a badge of honor. Multitasking every minute of everyday is the sign of all highly UN-productive person. Stop kidding yourself and set 3 to 5 high priority projects to complete. Set deadlines for their completion. Again, discipline yourself like a leader and keep your projects prioritized with a limited number – three to five is ideal; seven is the maximum; above seven is just for show. Clarity and Focus are the sure signs of a True Leader today.
8. Prepare for Social Issues
The greatest leadership and management guru of all time – Peter Drucker – forecasted in 1995 that Social Issues would be the next big issue for leaders. And, as always, he was correct. Social issues are just that - they impact the quality of lifestyle of people.
It involves health, the environment, family, immigration, and the big one – Ethics. The most popular vehicle for spreading of current feelings about the social issues is the internet and the social media outlets which have grown to meet the desires and needs of the public.
There are four rules of engagement in dealing with social issues.
- Nothing is off limits – no sacred cows any more and everything is discussed.
- Everything is Transparent – full disclosure is best
- Laws come too late (or make the issue worst)
- Government can be an ally or an enemy- your call
Your responsibility in the world of social issues is simple – distinguish what is legitimate in your environment. However, to win in the social medial you need to be proactive, use robust dialogue, and avoid becoming defensive.
There you have the critical eight keys or steps to becoming a Strategic HR Leader for today’s high performance organizations. Review these keys often as a checklist for your leadership success. Discuss these points with your HR team. And, I will see you at the Executive Conference Table soon.