HR professionals: Don’t get comfortable in your cosy old shoes – Tech and culture changes everything!

Adam Coleman Blog, CEO HR Points of View

Being a HR professional in a busy tech or professional services company can be really challenging. Having been there in the past and doing it in the present, I know the challenges first hand.

Many managers think when the first HR role is appointed in a company that they now have a HR resource to do all the hiring for them and that they will deal with all those awkward team issues that just get in the way of real work!

Growing Culture  – and Tech
Some HR professionals accept this direction from their management colleagues and feel that their job is to be in service (and I use the term ‘in service’ on purpose) to the managers. If so, they are doing a disservice to themselves, their company and the HR profession.

Let’s face it, most growing tech and professional services companies see HR as a cost or in some cases they see it as a necessary evil. But our job as HR business professionals is to prove them otherwise!

So how do we do this?

Here are 15 DOs to start with:

  1. You need to be able to influence and manage up appropriately
  2. Take on business responsibility and ask for budget responsibility
  3. Don’t be afraid of technology and use technology to automate as many of the mundane everyday tasks that can bog you down – don’t hide behind admin!
  4. Make sure you are invited and attend every team meeting of the departments you support.
  5. Insist that you are involved in every strategic meeting so you can consider the people implications when the business direction and strategy is being developed.
  6. Set out programmes to train your managers how to interview properly. Interviewing is a skill that should be learnt and not a God-given gift that comes with being appointed a manager.
  7. Work out how much the company and each department spends on recruitment each year, work out the average cost of a hire and use this as a metric for you and your managers to be measured against.
  8. Start measuring why people have left but, do the interviews or questionnaires after the people have left the business not “in their last days in Rome” ( you get what I mean?)
  9. Develop a behavioural framework for your company, involve everyone in the creation of this and then train people how to hire against it, manage against it and reward against it.
  10. Ensure that each person knows your core behaviours and how these behaviours are used in the company, this will drive the culture of your company.
  11. Get to understand the aspirations of the managers and employees in your business and how they align with the aspirations of the company (taking their ability into consideration.
  12. Always when communicating communicate the truth! This generates trust and trust is essential for success.
  13. Never deal with difficult issues on behalf of the managers you support. Deal with these issues alongside the mangers you support, that is the only way they will learn and recognise that their actions have human consequences
  14. Presume that the employee is innocent until proven guilty and that the Manager is guilty until proven innocent, remember, the manager has power and authority on their side and the employee has nothing only protective legislation.
  15. Remember once the dialogue stops and the situation becomes legalistic in approach no one wins (except in extremes cases where the lawyers win handsomely!)

These are 15 pointers to help HR professionals to be able to contribute to a business and to gradually move away from being seen as a cost. HR professionals should be seen as a cost reduction centre.

Too many HR professionals are compliance crazy and scare people which makes them terrified to manage and hire people.

This must stop if HR wants to have a real impact on progressive business and thoroughly drive culture and employee productivity

The current ratios you hear bandied about differ, but a common one is: 1 HR person for every 100 employees.

I believe you need way less HR people than this if you automate the mundane and educate your managers on how to manage and educate your employees on how they are expected to behave.

One of our clients Brown Bag films CEO Cathal says it all in this piece.

If I can be of any further help to anyone please feel free to get in touch.

Adam Coleman
CEO HRLocker

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