Changing the HR Story

The new year presents a fresh start. If there is something you'd like to start doing, stop doing or change the way you are doing it, this is when many jump on the resolution train. Whether you are a resolution-maker or not, making something better is bound to be on your mind.

It is on mine. Right out front, I have my running (I plan to run a half-marathon), my food choices (I've been Paleo for over a year now but have begun to sugar-stray), my skin (time to pay my dues for my younger years of sun worship) and the coaching I give, receive and accept.

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On my mind today (but only because of a prompt) is what I'd do to make HR better. So, here it is.

How human resource professionals are viewed has a direct impact on their ability to impact change. And in many cases, HR pros are viewed as transaction managers, or worse, a necessary evil.  The stories about human resources go like this:

  • HR is hard to work with.
  • HR can't get the basics right.
  • Include HR, why? What do they do anyway?

The stories are not going to change on their own.  Bob McDonald, then CEO, Proctor and Gamble said, "People are going to tell stories about you whether you want them to or not. Choose which ones they tell." 

I love this quote for a few reasons: first, it's true and second, it puts HR professionals and leaders across the globe in the driver's seat. Don't like the stories? Change them. Quit hiding behind technology, leading with the employee handbook and blaming the economy for recruitment and retention challenges. Stop talking (what you think sounds expert and dazzling is actually distancing) and start listening.

Start by getting your HR house in order - strengthen your HR infrastructure and your HR workforce. Align business decisions with organizational objectives  - focus on streamlining the hiring process, ensure employees have the necessary skills and abilities to do their jobs and develop targeted strategies to assist supervisors and managers with performance management. Share your success, take credit where credit is due and be nice to your friends.

Do this and I guarantee the conversations about HR will change and you will be sought out by others for your absolute awesomeness.

Changing the HR Story first appeared on

HR Pros: Get Out and Go Make A Difference

HR Florida in my rearview mirror, I have had some time to reflect on my few days in the company of 1600 HR professionals. The place was hopping!

Sessions aside, the best part of being there was meeting or reconnecting with friends and colleagues face to face. Nothing beats meeting someone new or sitting across from someone you haven't seen in months - or years - and reconnecting like it's only been a few days. That's what social media does.

Go Granular

Every conference needs a catch phrase and I found mine Sunday morning at the pre-conference Hack Lab session with Talent Anarchy. Want to innovate? Make a small change. Innovation is a series of small changes that happen over time - not over night - and small changes make the biggest difference.

The message was pointed and the challenge for the HR professionals in the room was thinking small. Do you want to improve the use of individual development plans in your company? Creating a new career development program is big and overwhelming but creating a guide for mentor/mentee meetings that incudes review of the the IDP is not.

Got an idea for change? Break it down. Now, break it down again. Break it down to it's smallest component. In other words, go granular.

Start Helping

Another session I enjoyed was Reality-Based Leadership by Cy Wakeman. One quote from CY sums up this session for me, "When you are judging, you are not helping, serving or leading."

So, stop judging and start helping. As leaders, we spend too much time negotiating the non-negotiable. It is the role of a leader to change mindsets by eliminating triangular conversations:

  • "Wow, good to know you have a problem with Sally. Have you talked to Sally about that?"
  • "Joe has a problem with submitting the info you need timely. How can you help?"
  • "What can you do to help Karen with XYZ? "Can you commit to that?"

Facing a moment of panic or overreaction? Ask, "What do you know for sure?" and "What can you do about that?"

Take Aways

From Trish McFarlane and Steve Boese's session, How Social Tools Can Empower a Global Organization to John Nykolaiszyn's session, Let’s Occupy: Building a Sustainable College Recruitment Plan and Talent Pipeline! and many sessions in between, there was strategic HR knowledge for the taking.

The take away I have from the conference is that HR pros have access to the same tools resources and opportunities and what they choose to do (or not) with them determines their success. This is not rocket science people.

HR pros, get out and go make a difference.

Photo credit: Dave (the HRCzar) Ryan