Take stock of everything and start with the why. Don’t decide and then look for data that supports your why. Let data drive you to make the right conclusions
Focus on a few meaningful initiatives. Even if you have the bandwidth, the organization will not have the ability to manage more than three initiatives at a time
The editor of this magazine sent me a cryptic suggestion for the January column – “What is that one thing that HR Leaders knew or did not know that would radically change the function in 2014?”
Hmm… cryptic but very interesting indeed! I almost felt like I was on the quest for the Holy Grail for HR for 2014! I decided that the best way to get ideas to this Holy Grail was to crowd source, so I posted the question on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. The responses were instant and all the comments received helped me think through “the one thing” question.
Rather than go down the one thing route, I decided to write about what we MUST do differently as HR professionals in 2014. In keeping with the spirit of New Year, I have christened these MUST Do’s as HR Resolutions 2014!
Word of Caution: Blame my social media colleagues for the richness of the content and dialogue, which I could not distill to that “One Thing”!!
Resolution 1: Data is the basis for everything we do or don’t
Mahalakshmi (@mahasworld) says “stick to analytics-based interventions”.
I think she is spot on. We should take stock of everything we do and then as Simon Sinek exhorts in his Golden Circle Theory start with the why – the very purpose, cause or belief. The lead is always the data, don’t decide and then look for data that supports your why. Let data drive you to make the right conclusions.
For example, our retention initiatives – are they really yielding the results we desire? There is rich data available with us on when people leave, why they leave (data received through exit interviews etc) and a lot of lead data in our HR Skip meetings. Can we bring them all together, analyze them and decide what we will do next year? I personally endorse this data analytics approach as I believe this is a great start for us to decide on what our priorities will be for next year!
Resolution 2: Confront the truth when it comes to programs from an employee perspective
Vikas Singh Baghel (@Vikasbaghel) tweeted this and it hit home.
This was echoed by many others. People Programs fail when they don’t consider employee impact because of employee dissent and lack of buy-in. It could be a new benefits program, a tweak in performance management or a path-breaking talent initiative. The key question is have you factored in the employee or the key stakeholder perspective? For example, at MphasiS, we rolled out a path-breaking bidding program. The idea was great, the leadership loved the program! But it was a huge failure because we did not consider how it impacted an employee.
Resolution 3: Define what success is
For everything we do, can we take a moment to understand what success will look like. Otherwise, it will be more like this tongue-in-cheek statement “The surgery is successful but the patient is dead”. Writing down what success will look like and ensuring that all the stakeholders are on the same page goes a long way in building credibility and bringing value. Impact analytics and measurement is as important as pre- launch analytics. A suggestion: Do it before you decide to go ahead with the program and not mid-way or after the program.
Resolution 4: Quality over Quantity - focus on a vital few
“Drive a few initiatives and make them sustainable and measurable” says Sriram R. with the interesting handle @justmaguire. This is an inherent problem with HR. Everyone and his uncle think they know HR and therefore every meeting means another idea or initiative. Learn to say NO and focus on a few meaningful initiatives. Even if you have the bandwidth, the organization will not have the ability to manage more than three initiatives at a time.
Resolution 5: More Face Time
Surprise, Surprise, Surprise…many twitterati mentioned this as the ‘One Thing’. Looks like a call for back to the basics! Get out of your inbox and cubicle and walk around, talk to people, go out for lunch, invest in that all-important in person meetings. If your stakeholders are spread out, get that travel budget approved; it is worth the spend.
I was surprised because I thought this was basic, but looks like technology, deadlines and pressure have relegated an important tenet of our HR profession lower in the priority list. This is the year to spend 50 per cent of your time at least in these meetings as recommended by Jaya Narayan (@nohrgyan) and Kumaran (@kumaran1973).
Resolution 6: Must Learn to Serve and Not Pine to Rule
Fitting last words to what started as the ‘one’ quest for the Holy Grail 2014. This is courtesy NS Rajan (@RajanNS).
Human Resource leaders have tremendous influence in shaping organizational thinking and decision making – Can we use that to advocate people? Like I said in another column, there are many people to take care of the P&L but only US to take care of the people.
I started with that one thing but ended up with six! I believe this was worth the journey, made very interesting by my colleagues on social media who took time to engage and shape this column.
If I were to still choose one thing to keep the editor happy, I would choose Data Analytics and Impact Analytics as the one thing HR professionals should do differently in 2014 to make a difference. This will require a quantum leap in competency for many of us, so even before you start on this journey, you may want to invest some time in understanding analytics! There are many online courses that will set you off on that journey.
Good Luck, Merry Xmas, Happy New Year – here’s to a data driven year.