HR function is both strategic and operational

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I was surprised to hear a senior HR Manager suggesting to a company CEO that all he needs is an HR Manager to look after HR operations. The CEO was advised that he does not need a strategic thinking HR Director. This is often a short-sighted occurrence in HR and other company functions.

We often think that HR is simply an operational or administrative function in an organization. A finely tuned HR Operations can make a big difference in the work environment of a company. I would agree to.

However, as leaders, we need to take care of the business both today and prepare it for a better future. HR plays a critical role in preparing the company for a better future. HR, in its best form, is a strategic business partner that is part of the strategic planning process.

Let me break it down into simple steps:
1. A business strategy will always have additional two components. It will have a change management component since strategic initiatives will always incur a change in the company. Second, strategic initiatives will most likely have an HR component.
2. The strategically thinking HR Director can extract the HR requirements from a business strategy. This is then turned into HR initiatives or projects that are aligned to the respective business projects.
3. These HR projects are then implemented together with the respective business projects.

People related questions that usually arise in business strategies are:
1. What competencies do we need to develop or acquire for the new strategies?
2. What competencies do we need to look for in hiring people?
3. What changes to our goal-setting process do we need to consider with the new strategies?
4. What do we do with team members who are not able to take on the new roles or competencies required by the business strategy?
5. How does a successful adaptation to the new role affect people’s career paths and promotability?
6. What communication activities do we need to roll-out to explain the people related initiatives resulting from the business strategy?

There are a number of people related activities that are needed to be taken into consideration when mapping business strategies to the people agenda.

That is one side of the HR Strategic thinking coin. The second side is what best HR practices are currently being used by successful companies? How can we adapt them to suit our company culture and status quo? How do we roll out the customized version? How do we time the roll-out and who is accountable for the different components of the project?

HR Operations takes a look at the current HR Work. At best, it also tries to improve the current way of work in HR. HR Operations looks after today’s HR activities.

HR Strategic thinking takes into account aligning the people agenda to the business strategy. It also seeks to implement best HR management practices in the workplace. HR Strategy looks after HR and the business in the near future.

Both HR Operations and HR Strategic thinking is needed for a successful business.

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Transforming Organization means Transforming People


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In the 1930’s, the typical company listed in the S&P stay in this elite list of companies for an average of 90 years. Today, that lifespan has shortened tremendously to 18 years. The difference in company durability is shocking. It is very clear that companies must adopt, change, transform. Failing to do so means it is only a matter of time before another company takes on your market and customers.

70% of company transformations fail. That’s a huge percentage of failure.

Most companies forget that organisational transformation is not about the transforming the company processes & policies. It’s not about simply engaging employees with the flavour of the month program. Organizational transformation is never easy. It is never a straight line. Organizational transformation cannot be taken for granted. Organizational transformation cannot start from the bottom.

Transforming organisations is all about transforming people. Transforming people is about transforming behaviours. Transforming behaviours means transforming mindsets and defining a clear purpose. Transformation is about sustained change and not compliance.

Transforming organisation is about igniting people potentials and aligning their behaviours.

If you are ready to implement a sustained transformation program in your company, join us on Dec 4 and 5. Let us show you how to do it.

Finding time vs Making time


Too often, I hear people claiming how busy they are. Often times, important activities or deliverables are missed because of how busy people claim to be. So called ‘busy’ people seemingly cannot find time to do the important things in their life, things that truly matter.

If you pay attention to people who are successful or are truly happy, you will hear that when something is important to them they will make time for it. Successful and happy people make time for what is important. How often will you witness the grade school graduation of your child? How about the school play where he plays the ‘tree’ in one of the scenes? Despite playing the role of a tree, he anxiously looks for your smiling and proud face in the audience.

These people make the time for really important company projects. They make time for these initiatives because they know the value it brings the company. Successful people do not necessarily join all projects since that would be silly. They find the right projects to participate in and make the time for it.

Truly successful people make the time to work out and try stay fit. They make time to read a book and feed their mind. They make time to call their parents and ask them how they are doing. They make time for family dinners. They make time to bond with their children. They make time on what matters most.

After all, time is finite. You don’t find time to do something that is important. You make the time.