Achieve A Successful Human Resources and Business Collaboration - Every Time!
In 20 years, Human Resources (HR) hasn't progressed much. This makes me sad, because this is my industry. Working with and coaching people is my forte.
There are a few companies who have radically shifted their own company HR, and this is really wonderful to see. They have inspired leadership who take coaching and advice to really better themselves and inject diversity into their decision making. I love working with these companies.
These leaders are innovative.
These leaders are inspiring.
These leaders are humble and know when to ask for help.
These leaders are captivating.
These leaders succeed.
But en masse, there has not been much progress at all. Is this because HR professionals have tried and been silenced too many times so have given up for fear of being labeled a trouble maker or losing their job? Or is it because HR professionals are not being trained properly, so those who prefer to passively direct from a distance are creating the same style of HR professional to go on and perpetuate the same behaviour?
Human Resources is best placed to make amazing changes within the workplace. They also have the power to positively or negatively affect an employee's life at any firm. I am appalled by stories where employees have been bullied by HR professionals. These HR professionals need to be trained in order to make the right decisions, with objectivity and compassion, not out of ego or spite. However, all too often the difficult conversations are not addressed. Conversely, business managers need to start partnering with and investing in their HR and not using them simply as execution resources to get a contract done or process benefits. They are so much more than this.
Here is my ideal model to enable a successful collaboration between an HR professional and their CEO / business partner:
1. Know each other's worth. Meaning, as the CEO know what your HR manager can do to help you achieve the ultimate success of your business. HR is not just a cost centre. It is integral to any business. As the HR manager, know where your worth sits within the business and what you need to do to positively affect the ultimate goal of the business.
2. Listen and collaborate. Partner with each other. Every successful business has regular reviews to ensure it is operating at its optimum level, AND to proactively get ahead of any potential challenges. Quarterly reviews are ideal and allow for fresh ideas to be injected into the business and to rectify anything that is not working as it should. Senior managers PLUS HR should be in those meetings. Do less talking, and more listening and watching. Remember, the one who speaks the loudest, or fills the silence, is not always right.
3. Practice what you preach. Under no circumstances should you oversell an HR role at interview as a "collaboration" when really you want someone to come in, ask no questions, and just do what she/he is told. This happens far too often and it is demoralising, disrespectful and a waste of everyone's time. For the CEO, do not exclude your HR manager from people discussions. It is the very definition of why they are on board - to work with your people. HR should not have to fight to be in a meeting; or have to come to work with a crystal ball to tell them what their leaders are not disclosing. They also should not be blind-sided or told to "clean up" when an employee turns rogue and you have had a hand in that scenario without their knowledge or counsel. Be smart about this - keep your HR manager informed of each people issue, so that he/she can talk knowledgeably and with the best interests of the company, should an issue arise later.
4. Communicate. The success of any business is this one major area called "communication." Simple, but if not used properly, it can be deadly. Businesses are run by human beings. And with that comes a series of emotions and feelings. This is nothing to fear, but the need for open communication is necessary to avoid unnecessary conflict, judgment or disappointments. It will make or break your business. It will define whether a key employee remains at your firm. People don't leave companies, they leave managers. The need for communication transparency between HR and the business is vital if you want to cultivate a successful company.
5. Innovate. Look at your business and decide on the best "people" structure that makes sense FOR YOUR BUSINESS. There is no need to copy others, they aren't you. Take inspiration from others by all means, but HR, you, and your business leaders need to come to each issue with a different lens. There is great power in this, and by having a safe platform to create out-of-the-box ideas without judgment, and explore opportunities that will help your bottom line / retain talent, you will succeed where other businesses will fail.
6. People are your currency. This is without exception. One of the worst terms to be created in business is "back office" to describe those who are the nuts and bolts of the business - Human Resources, Administration, Legal, Compliance, Finance, and Operations. Any company needs an avenue to bring money into the firm, but then they also need to know what to do with that money and ensure all regulations are met. Pay your people for the job they are doing (which is invariably more than what they were hired to do). Recruit the best, inspire them, train them, motivate them, and invest in them. Then you have a shot at retaining them and building a successful company.
7. Be humble and respectful. Know when to ask advice from each party to enable you to know all the facts of any situation. Only then can the right decision be made. Respect each other's skillsets. Just because you are the CEO of the company, you don't know everything. Just because you are HR, don't expect others to see things in the same way you do. Be humble enough to question things, and ask for advice from the subject-matter experts. There is no-one on the planet who knows everything, and each day is a learning experience for everyone. No one is exempt from this. Smart leaders understand that they learn from their teams every day. Having an ego in business is the recipe for disaster. Dictatorships ultimately run out of steam and fail.
8. Always move forward. If you are an HR manager, research and create ways to improve the business for your clients. Pick up the phone, walk the offices, talk to your employees, get feedback from them. Tailor-make the solutions so that they make sense to your clients. Be proactive without being over-powering or defensive. Suggest well thought-out ideas around how they will make things better, without demanding that they be implemented. Perfect your listening skills so that you are really hearing the issues, and not injecting any pre-conceived ideas that you may have. Speak up when you need to. If everyone is moving forward to achieve a common end goal, then this will keep communication and decision-making aligned with the heart of the business so that everything moves forward in the right way.
I have implemented strategies just like these to help leaders turn their businesses around. It is rewarding to work with such thought-leaders, who don't have all the answers when it comes to their people, but who are willing to take new ideas on board. We exist in a high vibe of learning to work differently. It is not what I encountered in my corporate life, and I always thought "we can do better than this". And I do. My clients do.
The above points can positively impact the success of a business, and the happiness / retention factor of the people turning up for work each day.
Loyalty is not over-rated; it is earned.
Time is precious, and you don't ever get it back. Therefore make your work collaborations count!
Just think how amazing it would be to go to work each day and say "I love my company!"
There needs to be more people saying things like this, and it starts with a healthy collaboration between all areas of your business.
You have the power to instigate change. If you don't do something, then you have no place complaining about the frustrations in your work life. It starts with YOU, so go out there and take responsibility for positive change at your workplace. Make a difference!