Tag Archives: HR Credibiity

Deeply Disengaged

data point tuesday_500

DeeplyDisengaged-thumb-300x295-177582Last week a guest poster wrote an anonymous letter that was posted on the U.K. ExpertHR blog. This U.K HR professional is “at the end of their tether” and writes a very transparent and poignant piece about the reasons for their massive professional disengagement and personal sadness at their lot. The publishers suggested that others might respond with guidance for the writer and the responses were numerous and detailed. The post and its responses created a robust and fascinating discussion.

And everyone – except one responder – totally missed the point. Totally. The discussion focused on whether or not Deeply Disengaged should “stay and fight” or quit and find a more conducive employer. Ugh!

Deeply Disengaged says that their “work every day is focused around making the workplace a better place to be for employees… To me, ensuring people are at the centre of everything you do is fundamental to being successful in all other areas. It is the foundations on which everything must be based.”

But the bottom line of the post is this:  “The powers that be don’t value the work that I am doing.” The old (ugh) furniture lament. (See my post here if you aren’t familiar with the furniture lament.)

I’ll bet it’s true. I’ll bet the powers that be don’t value the work that Disengaged is doing because Disengaged don’t know the value of the work they’re doing.

So here’s the real, hard truth – for Deeply Disengaged and all the responders:  HR needs to be focused on making the organization more efficient and productive leveraging the organization’s most costly resource, people. HR’s work needs to start with the organization’s strategic and business plans and deliver solutions that enable the successful growth of the enterprise. In other words, HR needs to be focused on the business!

Deeply Disengaged lists a number of supposed outcomes from his/her work:

  • Feedback is now two-way and things are improving fast
  • Retention of employees has increased significantly
  • Retention of candidates in the recruitment process has increased
  • Speed of work output and completion has risen
  • I could talk and talk about the things I am doing and results that we have seen but you get the picture…

I have to take a step back and say, Really? You wrote some nice stuff there, but nothing quantifiable.

I have to take a step back and ask, how do you know your outcomes if you don’t (or can’t) quantify them. And if you can quantify them and you don’t talk about them, why would a business leader listen to you?

I’m skeptical because in the entire post there was not one number. Not one. How can you talk about the value of the work you’re doing without numbers? Seat at the Table NotWithout percentages of increase or decrease, without dollars (or in this case, pounds)  saved, without numbers of days saved…

And that’s the challenge for HR – all over the world:

  • To leave behind “banging on about how these areas can hit the bottom line” and focus instead on providing clear, evidence-based business cases that are linked to the strategic plan.
  • To leave behind doing things “because I believe it can and will make a difference” and start doing things that the business requires and be able to prove it with data – including numbers.
  • To leave behind being “focused around making the workplace a better place to be for employees” and leading the effort to ensure the culture and values actually enable the achievement of the strategic plan.

I’ll bet that Deeply Disengaged is more of a business thinker than they know. If they really are working on improving business processes and outcomes the way they describe, they must know something about how business works, how business leaders speak, how business decisions are made and how resources are distributed. The question becomes, why aren’t they stepping up to the plate to act like a business leader with deep HR expertise rather than the disrespected HR functionary that the organization has to put up with?

It’s a troubling question. And frankly, it’s one of the reasons I started the Data Point Tuesday feature here at http://www.chinagorman.com. To provide data- and research-based sources that will help HR professionals move up from HR functionary to business leader with HR expertise.

I feel for Deeply Disengaged. Being disrespected is the pits. But quitting is not the answer – because the same thing will happen in the next job, and the next, and the next. Until the perception of HR professionals as functionaries changes to business leaders with HR expertise, this won’t go away. And the only way to change that perception is for HR professionals to start to behave like business people, to speak the language of business people, and to become comfortable with numbers, data and research. The only way for Deeply Disengaged’s experience to change is for them to start to behave like a business person.

It’s not easy – but it’s also not hard. Because I truly do believe that most HR people really can be business people — because they do know business. They just aren’t comfortable with that. Yet.

Advertisements

5 Comments

Filed under Business Language, China Gorman, Data Point Tuesday, HR, HR Credibility, XpertHR

Social Technology + Business = Social Business

data point tuesday_500

Last week we discussed the difference between social media and social technology.  There’s more.

IBM logoThe IBM Institute for Business Value’s report, The Business of Social Business, is full of research and survey data that can help in understanding how organizations are “seeing the value of applying social approaches, internally as well as externally.  Social business can create valued customer experiences, increase workforce productivity and effectiveness and accelerate innovation.”

That’s a mouthful.  But the point is that organizations going beyond counting “Likes” on their Facebook pages and using LinkedIn to recruit new staff members are optimistic about the value of embedding social technology into business processes that enable communication, collaboration and insight into customer, employee, supplier and business partner behavior.  And they’re prepared to invest mightily in social tools that will help them achieve those outcomes.

HR should be particularly aware of two areas that are seeing increased adoption of and investment in social technology – or social business, as IBM defines it:  creating valued customer experiences and accelerating innovation.

Moving far beyond promoting brand awareness on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, social business is becoming embedded in the end-to-end customer experience including lead generation, sales and post-sales service:

Uses of Social Business IBM

Look at the anticipated growth in the use of social technology to create stronger more persistent customer relationships.  Organizations are are preparing to move far beyond marketing applications to sales and services applications.

In HR, we all talk a good game about the need for innovation and collaboration – whether or not we’re talking about social technology.  Many HR professionals are leading these charges within their organizations while the inhabitants of the C-suite are looking for every competitive advantage their employees, suppliers and customers can offer.  The systemic use of social tools to enable communication and collaboration between and among these groups are powering some formidable product/service innovation and HR needs to understand them:

Uses of Social Business 2 IBM

Savvy organizations are using social technology to deepen the customer relationship by customizing the customer experience.  This goes way beyond branding and messaging through social media.

As HR becomes a knowledgeable proponent of social technology and its tools – not just social media – it can become a more relevant partner in their organization’s transformation from a traditional 20th century venture to a 21st century social enterprise.  Clearly that’s where business is heading — social business, that is.

Leave a comment

Filed under China Gorman, Connecting Dots, HR Credibility, IBM, IBM Institute for Business Value, Social Business, Social Media, Social Technology