What’s Your Legacy? Are You A Value-Add or a Seat Warmer?

What Will Be Your LegacyA Human Resources executive walks into a bar with a duck on their head. One of the long-time customers, though a bit intoxicated, recognizes the difference between a hat and a duck and shouts, “… you’ve got a duck on your head. The HR executive calmly replies, “… of course, that is the only way Human Resources gets recognized for anything we do.”

4 out of 5 HR professionals hate this joke. Yet, almost 100% agree that they go to great lengths to get recognized by business leaders for providing value.

How To Leave A Legacy

Over the last several years, I have talked with countless HR leaders who want to leave this great legacy behind. Like a coach wanting to retire after a fantastic season. We want to leave the team better than when they started, and you want the fans to love what you are delivering. Countless HR studies point to the same three ways to build a legacy:

1. Put in Place Leaders Who Can Lead

  • An executive team that is completely aligned, finishes one another’s sentences, and executes flawlessly
  • Leaders who are not only adaptive but more importantly, they are resilient. So when the next wave of change hits, they know how to lead the organization forward
  • Managers and leaders who know what to do when their boss is not around
  • An organization structure that is based on the capabilities needed to deliver on strategic objectives with governance processes that promote collaboration across the organization
  • A reputable process to attract, grow, and promote great talent

2. Create a Culture That Delivers Performance Without Having to Drag People Forward

  • Create a culture based on performance and results, while discouraging personal agendas and internal competition
  • Establish a set of norms and values that deeply connect with employees and makes them proud to be
    part of “our” organization

3. Deliver HR Core Processes That Work. Flawlessly

  • Assurance that all things to do with employees will not go BOOM in the night. Social security numbers & salaries will not be leaked onto social media platforms. Employees will get paid on time accurately, and their benefits will be processed correctly, etc.
  • Provide a highly efficient and effective set of core Human Resources services that assures employees they are being taken care of in accordance with the values of the organization

What is your legacy? Are you treading water, or are you making a fundamental difference in how the business is delivering results?

As a Human Resources professional what legacy will you leave? What will you be known for? More importantly, what will your business partners say regarding making HR relevant and how it materially affects their ability to deliver business results? Having a farewell party is bittersweet when you are roasted by your business partners poking at how HR is now managing benefits correctly, how the latest training program didn’t put everyone to sleep, and how your legacy of improving the employee engagement scores by 8% will be remembered for years to come.

Lessons From The Front Lines

As you work to leave a legacy, here are a few lessons from the front lines, and what the studies don’t teach you:

1. Develop and Manage Your Talent

There are three skills that are core to great leaders: Resilience, Influence, and Ability to Lead and Manage Change. Put in place a program that develops these skills and link them to practical application by solving the ‘real’ business problems in your organization. By practicing and solving the problems that are vexing, leaders are in place to adapt to the challenges ahead.

2. Culture That Is Grounded in Performance

Somehow, a long long time ago, HR got saddled with ‘fixing culture’. Instead of fighting the inevitable, work with leadership to ensure that they are aligned around the same business objectives. That a capability-based organization structure is in place to deliver on results. That a set of values is in place that are lived and demonstrated by the decisions made — not listed on a poster in the cafeteria.

3. Invisible HR Core Services

The world is full of six sigma and process experts who are anxious to reengineer HR processes. Along the way they too often break what works and put new processes in place that are onerous and frustrate employees. Engage HR professionals who have solved the challenges associated with HR services, those who have ‘been there and delivered’. Work with HR leaders who have improved HR service delivery and where appropriate, put in place shared service models that actually work (and still work a year later).

Are you too busy putting out day-to-day fires for which there is no fire prevention? Are you thinking about how to plan and get the organization ahead?

Building great Human Resources organizations should be job #1, but too often HR leaders are putting out fires. At LeaderShift Insights™ we use a Fast-Paced process to define, align, and put in place HR practices that enable the business and leave a lasting impact. Over the last 10 years, we have worked with organizations such as the Mayo Clinic, BCBS Illinois, Oracle, Johnson & Johnson, AvMed Healthcare, Home Depot and many others. Contact us. It’s what we do!