Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Good Times or Bad, Everyone is Watching What Management is Doing

“In the end, I want to know that the next paycheck is coming. Everything else is secondary.”

I thought of that statement from an employee who was afraid that they could be laid off.

When I read about Hewlett-Packard’s impending layoff of 27,000 plus employees, I had a flash back. The subtitle of this announcement was that this would produce cost savings of $3.5 billion.

Plan for the survivors-ALWAYS

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Where’s the Beef? It Takes More Than a New Title to Create Business Value

“So, what does the new title mean?”

She had walked out on Friday as a generalist and returned on Monday with a new title of Business Partner.

“It means I am now assigned to a business unit, I am their personal HR representative. “ And with that, a new title took hold, but within the confines of the organization, it did not bring value.

Where’s the beef?

There was a Wendy’s commercial a few years back where the catch phrase was, “Where’s the beef? This was my reaction when I heard this story about the new “Business Partner.” So did anything change beside the title?

How in all likelihood can you add value if you change the title but do not change the job and its alignment within the organization? There is such a proliferation of overblown titles today that I often find myself trying to figure out what was the thinking behind it?

Recruiters are now called Talent Acquisition Managers or talent managers. Did we tell them the reason that we changed their titles? If they are asked what the new title means, will the answer bring value to the title or the organization?

If the answer is “no,” it is just a new suit of armor. Why bother?

In my world, you grow a partnership when you learn how to create value in a relationship or business.

What is a real Business Partner?

When you create value in business, it establishes a win-win situation for you and your client. Providing superior performance and working to build relationships helps develop client loyalty. Your client will not be satisfied unless you provide them with real value.

To be successful in HR today, we must be a true partner to not only our business partner clients, but to the entire organization from the lowest level all the way up to the CEO. We must help shape the priorities and plans of the business. Our success as HR leaders will determine whether organization’s achieve success in these times.

PWC recently released their 15th Annual Global CEO Survey: Delivering Results — Growth and Value in a Volatile World, and if there ever was a lob thrown our way, this is it.

This research states that only a minority of CEO’s are getting comprehensive HR management information for the measures they say are important. It’s filled with devastating metrics which outline, in all the clarity that could be mustered, the important challenge that organizations are facing as it relates to talent.

The word value is one that pops up a lot in my vocabulary.

I often say that this is the greatest time to be in Human Resources. HR is the most important function within an organization today. Yes, I know the marketing strategy is paramount to completing an organization’s goal. I also know that an organization’s strategy is frequently built around a financial and IT model.

Talent as a competitive advantage

However, with all that being said, it takes an amalgam of talent to reach those key goals.

  • Where is the talent coming from?
  • Have we identified the key players in reaching those goals?
  • Do we have the right skills now or in the future to reach those goals?
  • How do we keep the workforce engaged as we march forward?
  • How do we develop our talent?
  • Do we have the right people in the right places at the right time?
  • Are we applying metrics to make decisions?
  • Are we mindful of the impact of employee engagement and performance?
  • All these questions bring us back to the value that HR brings or should bring to the equation.

I have always had this vision of HR as internal “people consultants” that provide insights and strategies on all the above. This will enable leaders to make the right decisions and aid in crafting the right business strategy using that most important asset with the organization — people.

All this alignment with the organization will take a lot more heavy lifting than simply changing a title.

Yes, value is the key word that should be in the vocabulary of every HR leader going forward. We just have to bring

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

3 Steps to Help You Own Up When You Make The Big Mistake

“We know we were sloppy. We know we were stupid. We know there was bad judgment. We don’t know if any of that is true yet. Of course regulators should look at something like this, that’s their jobs. So we are totally open to regulators and they will come to their own conclusions. But we intend to fix it and learn from it.”

That statement was from CEO Jamie Dimon of JPMorganChase on taking responsibility for the massive loss of $2 billion that happened in the past six weeks.
This post will in no way attempt to even go to show how this massive amount of money was lost. But, I will go to where more leaders and managers should also go. “We” (or “I”) made a mistake is a profound statement that all of us from time to time are guilty for not having in our vocabulary. Just a few words, sincerely stated, goes a long way towards making amends.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Building Relationships: You Must Dig the Well Before You Need the Water

Six years ago, Fred had a friendship with a rep for a small brand. The brand’s contribution to our sales was insignificant, so going to a dinner with him during a shoe show, when there were hundreds of other brands there, didn’t make a lot of sense. But it was still something Fred prioritized, based on the friendship. A week after the dinner, Fred’s friend became president of a major brand we had been trying to get.

If you’re focused on friendship as its own reward, serendipitous stuff just happens. I know that sounds weird, but I can tell you for our 12 years of existence, it’s actually how a lot of stuff happens

That story was told by Tony Hsieh in an interview about his former co-worker Fred Mossler, who helped him start Zappos.

Focusing on friendship as its own reward is a very powerful statement, especially in this difficult economic climate. So many times we are befriended by people only because they know that we know someone they want to connect with. We have all gotten requests from friends through LinkedIn wanting help.

Are we building real relationships?

I have a contact that seems to only email or light up my phone when she is asking for a favor. It starts with the “how are yous?” and ends with “can you do XYZ?” It’s so sad.

Building relationships is not hard work, but more importantly, there is no shortcut. The process should be genuine.

LinkedIn has allowed all of us to take our relationships to a hyper level, but so many times, we don’t get a sense that folks are really interested in building a real relationship. Yes they want to connect, but in many cases, they do not think enough to even personalize the connection.

And then there are the ones who prize themselves on being open networkers, with thousands of connections, but who you would be hard pressed to get an email or phone called returned from most of them. So my question is, where is the strength of the connection?

We have all been thrust, whether willingly or unwillingly, into an economic climate that forces everyone somewhere along the line to reach out to someone. There was a post here that spoke to the power of referrals in hiring, however as a piece of advice, you need to stay close to people and your connections.

Organizations build relationship with all their customers. Imagine the success of a company that only connects with their customers when they are engaged in a sale, and other than that, they are not concerned and could care less. Today, a company like that would not be successful for long.

Organizations MUST connect with employees

Better still, imagine an organization that does not connect with their employees, one that is only concerned with your work output and that’s it. Imagine working in that one-sided environment.

This modern relationship model also takes place in our families. Imagine a family that only connects with each other when they need something? That is not a family that will last in the sense of being a family.

This past Friday, I sat in on the HR Rockstar Tour sponsored by Achievers. By the way, when this tour comes to your city, be sure and attend and hear excellent presentations by both China Gorman and Josh Bersin.

China told the story when she was CEO of a company, and any time she had an interaction with her group as she traveled the country she would always make sure to send personal notes to those she talked to. That may not sound like a herculean task but what she found was that as she visited those offices later, she saw the notes prominently placed on the recipient’s desk, pinned to walls, taped to doors. All of that happened because she built the personal relationship.

What can we learn from this? It’s simple: dig the well before you need the water.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Key to Successful Mergers? It’s Usually About People and Culture

“I knew enough to allow them to handle their own culture, headquarters and management,” said Paul Murry, CEO of Calvin Klein, a PVH Corp. company.

In 2003, PVH bought Calvin Klein when sales were $2.8 billion. Last year, the numbers ended with sales at $7.6 billion.

That statement alone tells why M&A must have a people component. According to a KPMG research study, 83 percent of all mergers fail. Hell, even the divorce rate in the U.S. is about 50 percent and that has nowhere near the impact both financially and personally that failure a M&A will extract if not successful.