What’s Next for Human Resources?

As 2018 dawns, two questions are being asked by many IBHR leaders and Chief Human Resource Officers:

  1. Is this year’s plan for my Human Resources team good enough to deliver strategic value across the organization to truly differentiate our organization from the competition?
  2. What is the next key capability that Human Resources needs to front leadership?

Certainly, you are reminding your HR team on a daily basis how well they are performing and ‘delivering strategic value across the organization.’ As a matter of fact, during the annual strategic planning process for HR in Q4 of last year, the goal was set. With input from business leadership and external trends, the human asset needs of the organization are determined and plans crafted to ensure its delivery.

Human Resources Alignment ComicThe challenge for Human Resources is to be an active business leader that drives activity and process to impact success in meeting or exceeding business goals. Simply managing the ‘tactical’ aspects of HR reinforces that HR is a necessary function, not a partner in driving the business.

The core services of HR can be defined in many ways, and the following categories will define the current core services of HR.

HR Generalist Support Comp & Benefits Talent Acquisition & Onboarding Org Dev and Talent Mgt Learning, Dev and Perf Mgt HR Ops & HRIS Comms Labor & Employee Relations  HR Legal

How HR delivers on each category is determined by HR’s ability to enable leadership to more effectively deliver strategic business results. These are the table stakes of HR. How well the HR team delivers on these services dictates its relevance to leadership and the role HR will play in driving the success of the business. Going forward,

  • HR must be viewed as an integral part of the business
  • HR professionals must develop the competencies for business, operations, and strategy
  • HR needs to get all this right before thinking about the second question

Start with the first question, and if you know that the foundational HR services are not up to par … STOP. To be a business leader, the HR shop needs to be in order. Core services of HR need to be both efficient (low cost) and effective (high value). A capability analysis of HR will uncover service delivery gaps (from the business point of view) so that appropriate (and nominal) investments in core HR can be made.

The second question speaks to the importance of not only having the right people in the right job, but more importantly, is your entire workforce, from the CEO to the most recently hired intern, aligned around where the organization is headed and 110% clear on how their role contributes to success?

We spend a lot of time hiring, compensating, managing, and developing our people. We build competency models and job descriptions to ensure that they are doing ‘their job.’ We put in place organizational and governance structures to ensure that people are all ‘rowing in the same direction,’ … but with limited success. Blah blah blah…

Business leaders still regard Human Resources as a support function. HR needs to become relevant and address the challenges that interfere in the way people work together. Personal agendas, executives fighting for scarce resources, corporate vs. the business, support functions vs. leadership, functional silos, etc. all still exist and flourish in today’s organizations. Not only does this undermine the ability of the businesses to succeed, it is highly inefficient and expensive.

Human Resources has been working these problems with targeted solutions which includes the following:

  • Team building (we all have endured some sort of ‘team building’ session … to limited effect)
  • Organizational re-design (which often results in ineffective restructuring and chaos)
  • Creating more or, at times, less governance (which inevitably slows down decision making)
  • Bringing a PhD in Organizational Effectiveness (to ‘fix’ things)
  • Attempts to build a ‘new’ culture (replete with banners and signs strategically placed in the front office)

The list goes on and makes our business leaders cringe. Yet, with all these efforts, the issues remain, as do many of the inefficiencies and frustrations that surround them. Over the last 15 years, we have been working with executive leadership teams as well as CHROs to understand what is getting in the way of more effectively leveraging our human capital. What has emerged is a better understanding of a critical capability gap with regard to how we create, communicate, and manage alignment across and top down in our organizations.

Would you want to work for a company where everyone – from the CEO to the unpaid intern – shows up knowing EXACTLY what they need to do every single day? Even on days when plans fail and crises happen. Where everyone pitches in and covers one another, even for other departments, when someone messes up. No blame, no infighting? You know what that’s called? Alignment. We help companies make that their reality.

Organizational Alignment ExecutionOrganizational Alignment is the creation of a ‘game plan’ and operating norms that serve as the foundation to running your organization and achieving your strategic objectives. By explicitly linking the building blocks of our organization we create alignment, top down and across.

We unleash human capacity by ensuring that everyone is working toward the same goals, they understand how they fit into the overall picture of the organization and they understand how decisions / tradeoffs are made so that every action is made in the best interest of the organization. Gone are the ‘my function vs yours,’ internal competition for resources, the need to reorganize to ‘better align around the customer’ … people, from the executive ranks to the newest intern, understand what is needed and how to support those ends.

A recent survey of both business and Human Resources executives confirms the need and appetite for creating and improving organizational alignment. Equally compelling is the expectation of business leaders that Human Resources take ownership of Organizational Alignment, drive the conversation, and the work around it.

Human Resources is accountable for the most vital asset in any organization, its people. Ensuring their alignment is the role of HR. Is your Human Resources team ready and able to deliver this next core capability, … Organizational Alignment?

At LeaderShift Insights™ we work with HR teams to get the fundamentals right (both efficient and effective) and we help leadership teams create the alignment needed to deliver business strategy. Our client base includes State Bank, Mayo Clinic, BCBS Illinois, Oracle, Johnson & Johnson, Home Depot, J.M. Huber, Ingredion, and many more. Contact us. It’s what we do!