In my mind, the most important asset in any organization is its Human Capital. It’s people! And no other Function/Dept. within an organization touches people more than the Human Resource function. I like to think of HR as the “Champions of Human Capital!” In working with dozens of CEOs, they believe that within their organization, HR professionals are to be the champions of four key areas:
Historically, the Human Resource function has been pigeonholed and limited in focus. Former titles included “Personnel Dept.”, “Benefits Office” and “Payroll.” It’s only in the past decade or so that CEOs and organizations have really come to appreciate the significant role human resource professionals play in the success of the organization. Going forward HR professionals MUST have a total grasp on the overall “business” of the company!
Market Position: Where does our organization fit within the Industry? What is our unique value proposition? How do we create customer and shareholder value?
Environmental Scanning: What are the external influences impacting the company’s success? Economic Factors, Competitive Trends, Technological Changes, Political Issues, Social Issues, Demographic Trends?
Financials: Do you know how your organization makes its MONEY? Can you dissect and understand the “high-level” Balance Sheet and Income Statement? Are you aware of the financial health of the organization?
HR Analytics: Can you measure the impact of Human Resources leadership, management, actions, policies, and assistance in your organization? Your selection of measurements should be driven by two factors:
- To contribute to the overall success of your organization and the attainment of your organization’s most important goals.
- To provide the organization with measures that drive continuous improvement.
To be successful business partners, HR professionals MUST think like business leaders!
Secondly, HR Professionals must be Champions of Change! In the new world economy, an organizations ability to anticipate, acknowledge and adapt to change will separate those companies who survive and thrive, and those who will become extinct, the dinosaurs’ of the 21st Century! Since, the HR department is all about recruiting, training and monitoring employee performance; it has a key role to play in any change management program.
For this to happen, they need to recruit the right people who can think out of the box and can bring a fresh perspective to the table. This is the key element of any successful change management strategy and this is where HR has a stellar role to play. The point here is that HR must be encouraged to look for people who can act as catalysts for change and who can motivate other employees to participate in the change initiative.
A great strategy is no guarantee of long-term business success. Many other factors impact organizational performance. One such factor is corporate culture. In fact, it’s been said, “Culture eats Strategy for Breakfast”. Yes strategy is important, but it is the implementation and execution of that strategy that determines success, and without the right culture, strategy is doomed to fail! For it is “Culture” that helps an organization create a high performance environment that supports business strategy implementation. Because culture is so important to the success of a firm, human resource professionals need to increase their proficiency at impacting culture. Monitoring it, understanding it, and influencing it!
Of the four areas I’ve suggested HR professionals champion, this one requires the most courage! This is the one that is the least comfortable, the one that requires competency, credibility and compassion! This is the one that demands you have the influence and persuasiveness to have “uneasy” but necessary conversations with those who may outrank you!
To be Champions of Conscience for your organization will test your moral compass, your willingness to speak truth to power, and your commitment to be the voice for those who may not be getting heard! It’s making sure that an organization’s management and workforce looks as diverse as the communities they operate in, the customer/clients they sell to, the vendors/contractors they utilize and the consumers they target with their services and products!
- It asks questions when candidate slates look unbalanced.
- It demands answers when salaries look out of line.
- It requires fairness when Performance Reviews look skewed.
- It forces creativity when it hears….”we’ve looked, but couldn’t find any” diverse candidates.
- It challenges the status quo, when others accept, “we’ve always done it this way”
More than ever before, successful CEOs organizations realize that in order to sustain profitable growth, drive innovation, and create value, they must have “the right people, in the right roles, doing the right things, at the right time!" Human Resource professionals are the catalyst to make sure the organization is poised from a Human Capital perspective to deliver the desired results!