The New HR Manager
Harnessing and farming talent will only happen if HR managers are genuine in the way they approach people and issues
There is no real reason for the HR manager to renew themselves in this particular year (as against any other year). Except that change is more likely than ever to catch up and make the professional HR manager redundant sooner than later, if we don’t change. And there is a great opportunity for the HR manager to earn some more respect from CEOs and other professionals (notwithstanding the debate as to where the respect level stands right now).
A shift in perspective could do some good in this regard and here are a few new perspectives worth reflecting by my fellow HR professionals:
Organizations are about employees, not employers only. The top leadership is important to pay attention to. But in the new age, value creation can and is happening at all levels of the organization. HR’s role is to help create value for the marketplace by supporting people alignment with culture, ideas and execution. This requires deep listening –not just to the bosses, but also to the masses, and maybe some really bright young people. It will require learning to work better across layers, being a little irreverent to hierarchy and creating value just like any other employee.
Genuineness is far more important in managing people than the rule book. Almost all great people managers are great listeners and are seen as extremely genuine. If HR is to source, help manage and get the best out of organizational talent, it needs to be seen as a ‘person’. And not a bunch of forms and emails. Harnessing and farming talent will only happen if HR managers are genuine in the way they approach people and issues, and role model that for other managers.
Learning is the new leadership. Organizations will thrive if they adapt quickly and meaningfully on an ongoing basis. And that means individuals, teams and the leadership have to adapt. Anyone who is becoming a hindrance to learning is actually taking the organization back. HR has to not only promote this thought but take a lead in promoting learning on a daily basis. This will mean not just reorienting the whole learning and leadership development function, but also rewarding newer behaviors.
The more you share, the more you get. HR managers tend to hide behind position, confidentiality and hoarding of information. And employees simply hate it. The sense is that the HR is on a different planet. We must make an effort to firstly come onto the same planet as our employees. The future of HR systems and processes (if there are any left in a few years!) will be like open source software. The community drives and decides what it wants, within a few guidelines. If HR can educate employees to be ‘sensible citizens’ of the organization, the real power of co-created organizations can be seen. That would of course mean a lot of courage and openness, and much less of control. Are we up to it?
Appreciation is much more valuable than criticism. The best in people can be leveraged by allowing them to live their own dreams. The discretionary effort and energy a person will put into the job in an organization is directly linked to the opportunity to maximize his/her own potential in that context. Appreciating the uniqueness of each individual and their contribution, however small, is perhaps the best way to support performance.
Really top talent attracts and creates more talent. HR managers need to be spending an inordinate amount of time in building leaders. The leaders will create more leaders and set standards for others to follow and better themselves. If HR does not understand excellence and quality, and does not continuously push the bar on leadership upwards, it is only breeding mediocrity and complacence.