As a past HR (Human Resources) professional who worked in both the government and private sectors — and then moving into a consulting business focused on helping leaders be extraordinary — I never cease to be amazed at how rarely an organization takes advantage of the incredible resources their HR folks can provide. So here’s my rant and rave advice to bring HR to the table as valued colleagues who can team up with the rest of the leadership team to create an environment that is thriving, inspired, and engaged!
Change Perceptions and Roles of HR on Your Leadership Team: Moving from OK Role to Better to Best!
The OK role: Reactive.
Too often HR is put into a Reactive role, where they are brought in after the fact. There’s a mess, and HR needs to clean it up! Their main job is putting out fires. There are times you need this, because things don’t always go as planned. But when HR spends all their time reacting to things, they are unavailable to serve in more appropriate and beneficial roles.
The Better role: Responsive
In this role, HR professionals can be involved in the planning phase. As issues and needs are identified, HR can provide insights, recommendations, and resources to make the changes smoother and more effective. From this role, HR can be preventative, averting potential crises before they occur.
The Best role: Proactive
In this role, HR professionals are equally respected members of the leadership team. They help the team to be future-focused, looking at trends, educating and coaching, and helping the team recognize the deeper impacts of decisions.
Including HR professionals can be invaluable in creating the culture that breeds engagement and creativity, powerful customer relationships, and incredible bottom-line results.
3 Things to Do to Build a Proactive Relationship between HR and the Rest of the Leadership Team
1. Invite your HR professional(s) to leadership staff meetings.
2. Ask the right questions of your HR professional(s), such as:
- What trends are you hearing about that could affect our employees?
- How can we provide the best training for our employees … what resources are out there to help us assess needs and fill them?
- How can we improve our interviewing processes?
- What do you need from us so we can effectively create a culture of employee engagement? (And what do we need from you that we don’t even know we need?)
- As we move forward, how can we improve on our performance management system, so it becomes a catalytic tool for increased engagement and positive change?
3. Use your HR professional(s) to expand your perspective of the impact and consequences of decisions being made. For example, during the early planning stages of a change, HR can often open your eyes to the legalities of certain actions, as well as guide you to recognizing the variety of people/departments who will be impacted by the change.
I love Muir’s Law, which says: When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe!
Nothing describes the role of HR better! Let your HR folks help you be extraordinary, as you Power Up Your Engagement!