In Part 82 of this series, I posed the question whether or not human capital management was dead or not. In this part I want to suggest that there is a vital path to your survival both as an HR professional and as part of your organization.
The C-Suite office holders of the 21st century are in a quandary. They are confronted with a wide-ranging audience they must answer to. This audience includes the stakeholders of the organization as well as the human capital assets. The demands of this audience require a constant flow of data and analytics which inform the C-Suite the health of the organization. In order to obtain this information they rely on the various parts of the organization to provide them with the right information, at the right time, in the right place and in the form they need it. Here in resides the missing link.
For far too long HR professionals have focused their efforts into being firefighters. They still believe that their responsibilities are the ones that existed when we called HR, personnel administration. The vast majority of our peers do not understand how to create evidence-based metrics for the CEO. When confronted with issues outside this administrative silo, the response is “that is not my job.” They are human resource professionals they are not finance professionals. They are human resource professionals they are not sales people. They are human resource professionals they are not customer service professionals. The problem is that in today’s world HR is all those things and more.
The vital path to your surviving as a human resource professional is to change the direction of yourself, your profession and your department. Consider this scenario. You have just been given the most recent financials for your department, what do you do with the numbers? Do you sit at your desk with a calculator and add the numbers to make sure they were done correctly? Do you look for patterns imbedded in the numbers? You may not be a financial wiz but you need to begin to look at HR with that focus. You need to use the data points from the financials and other measurement activities to explain to the C-Suite why a certain direction makes more sense that another. You need to be able to talk in the language of the CEO. You would not go visit a foreign country for any length of time with out getting a grasp of the language of that country. You should not enhance your professional skills without learning the language of business.
When we look at the question of the HR missing link, have you found it yet? we are speaking about you being able to change the nature of the HR profession. You need to begin to respond and act as an HRpreneur. Monster, the career site, posted an article about the nine characteristics of an entrepreneur. These characteristics can readily be applied to HR. Consider how these fit your own situation:
Your view of the HR world that you are in is based on seeing more than it’s my job. You are enthusiastic about the role you play in the organization. You are optimistic about the future of the organization and you understand where the correct implementation of talent management can take the organization. Based on this view HRpreneurs are willing to utilize the required resources of both the internal and external marketplace to reach these goals and mission.
· Creativity and Persuasiveness
You can function as an HR professional outside the box of the typical function. You are able to see potential opportunities that might exist to improve the role of human capital assets within the organization. Once you have identified these opportunities you are able to develop evidence-based arguments for the power of these opportunities and then make the sale pitch to the C-suite as to why this is needed and why this is the time to do it.
As HRpreneurs you need to have the ability to flow with the moment. You need to be able to work as a one person show when needed and likewise be agile enough to work as part of a cross-functional team when that better meets the need of the organization.
· Superb Business Skills
You need to be able to create viable talent management processes to enhance talent management. Yu need to be able to demonstrate the return on investment of the changes you are suggesting to management. You need to be able to look at the financial management of the organization from the eyes of the C-suite even though you are not there. You need to understand the procurement process to better see how products and services flow through the organization. You need to have a clear understanding on how products and services enter the back of the building and leave the front as what you provide to your customers.
· Risk tolerance
As HRpreneurs you need to be willing to take risks. Not everything you do is going to come up as roses. Deming told us that we need to drive out the fear of failure. Look at HR as your own business and consider what it means for you to be a winner. You need to know when to recognize that something you are trying is not going to work and try something else to reach the same end goal.
The HRpreneur needs to recognize that they are in the driver’s seat. You decide whether a change initiative is going to move forward. It means that you can’t recommend an change and then say we will get to it next year. Instead of putting out fires you need to be proactive in achieving the goals you have set.
As HRpreners you have to have some idea of where you are headed. You can’t operate from the attitude that we will throw things against the wall and see what sticks. You need to be able to explain to management and the rest of your organization what is in it for them if you make the changes. You must explain to the management and the organization why now and what the consequence s are for not doing anything.
· Flexibility and open-mindedness
This thing we call change is an experiment. As such you must be open to potential changes in direction and focus. You will need to be able to switch gears if another way of reaching the goal arises that is better than your initial way of achieving the end result.
The TLS Continuum allows no room for hesitation. You see the problem, you feel the problem and you have to act to make the required changes to the organization. You must push forward despite the inherent naysayers within the organization. You must believe you are right and push forward accordingly. You must be willing to jump on an opportunity if it is right decision to reach your goal.
We asked you in Part 82 whether human capital management is dead? The right response is maybe. The right response is that if we begin to think, behave and respond as true business partners then no, human capital management is not dead. HRpreners play a vital role in the vitality and longevity of the organization. But you can’t do that if you don’t learn how to speak the language of business.
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