With a couple of months behind us, it is time to look ahead to the balance of this year. Total HR will use 2011 as the year we make positive breakthroughs in HR. To that end, here are four strategies to implement that will empower both the HR functions of our team and the organizations of our clients.
1. Let’s stop using “human capital” to describe people.
Let’s start putting the “human” back in Human Resources where it belongs. Yes, we need to know the business and have financial intelligence. But we can’t TREAT people like they’re bullet points in a Power Point presentation or “human capital” that can be sold off or thrown away. They are actual people with families, fears and aspirations for the future. And for the majority of their days, they choose to invest their time and energy in the work we do. If we foster a work environment of respect and value, productivity and profitability quickly follow.
2. Let’s cut the HR jargon and buzzwords, and just be clear.
Let’s start using plain-speak and stop using acronyms and terminology. We should approach every speech, email, and power point presentation as an opportunity to show how clearly we can express the ideas behind the implementation of human resources. Imagine that your mother is in the audience. Naturally, she is a very intelligent woman since she has a son/daughter like you. But do you think she understands all the jargon and buzzwords you like to throw around so casually like intellectual capital, rightsizing, core competencies, bandwidth and the rest.
3. Let’s return to the field and stop trying to build networks exclusively with our laptops and smartphones.
All relationships should have a flesh and blood element, not just pixels on a screen. LinkedIn, Facebook Pages, and the rest of the Social Networking sites are some of the greatest tools ever created for professional networking, but they are just tools. HR professionals need to get away from their computers and meet people. In the field, the best work can still be accomplished and true long-lasting relationships can be developed.
4. Let’s keep up with the signs of the times.
There are four HR competencies critical for thriving in today’s economy. If you don’t master them, you are very much a Fred Flintstone in a George Jetson world. They are bulleted below. Are these in your HR playbook? If not, you’re falling farther and farther behind.
- Supportive manager: Earns and maintains the trust of employees while taking proactive business positions.
- Business Ally: Possesses an understanding of the business financials, strategies, and context to make better decisions.
- On Time Producer: Ensures work and plans are executed on time, every time. Keeps to a practical production schedule.
- Specific Talent Provider: Shapes HR practices that deliver not just talented but the right people to capable organizations.
Okay, this is just a beginning, but by embracing these four principles and moving forward with a proactive attitude, human resources can become the useful tool that it was created to be from the very beginning. After all, as human resources professionals, our purpose is to optimize our companies, not complicate them.
About James Harwood
James Harwood, president and founder of Total HR, has more than 20 years of experience as a human resources executive and consultant with Fortune 500 companies, including Intel Corp. and Tektronix Inc., as well as nonprofit corporations and small businesses. He oversees HR administration departments, including payroll, benefits and workers’ compensation. His areas of expertise include leadership and management development, employee satisfaction surveys and performance management consultation.