HR isn’t something that should be the sole responsibility of the HR department. If you are a leader of people, you have a responsibility for HR. Why? Because great HR is not a process. Great HR is a focus on the optimisation of your people, enabling great employee experiences and good business outcomes. And that is why you have a share in the responsibility for it.
As a business leader, here are three key responsibilities you can tackle head on in 2019.
Make sure you have the right people on the bus… and the right strategies to keep them there.
Workforce is not only about planning for future needs, it is understanding what you currently have. Depending on the stage of your business (startup, scale-up, diversification, consolidation or mature), a focus on workforce means two things.
- Getting clarity on the strategically-important roles you need to achieve on your business plan. Strategically important roles are those that add significant value and/or are hard to replace.
- Ensuring you have confidence in the ‘process’ of how you are going to retain your current talent, and how you are going to attract the new talent you may need. Make no mistake – the war for talent is real, and how you attract and retain skilled people is a frequent conversation with our clients. The cost of losing strategically-important people can be significant, and a one-size approach to attraction and retention is not necessarily effective.
Find out if the strategically-important roles in your organisation have been mapped. If they haven’t, make it a priority to get this done. If they have, how long has it been since this was reviewed – ensure that it is current.
Find out if you have role specific attraction and retention strategies. Work with your HR experts to ensure you are confident in the strategy to attract and retain the right talent.
Make talent an agenda item for your leadership meetings. It should be viewed as a business risk and therefore, should be an active conversation at the executive and leadership level.
Bring accountability to the fore
Too often, accountability conversations are left too late or are too infrequent. While an appraisal (or any type of review process) is part of driving accountability, it cannot be the ‘golden bullet’. Accountability is imperative to fostering a positive, constructive culture, and that means having the conversations regularly as they are needed. Make time to connect with your people in a constructive, consistent way. Be clear on what you expect, and the gaps you see.
HR is not responsible for driving accountability, leaders are. HR expertise can guide, develop processes and skills, however, if you want a culture that has accountability as part of its DNA, start role modelling what you expect. For example, are you addressing performance gaps on a consistent basis and in a constructive way with your own direct reports? Fostering a culture of accountability starts with the leaders and is an absolute case of monkey see, monkey do.
Reinforce your value proposition
As I mentioned earlier, the war for talent is real. And when we talk about the war for talent, it’s about having the right people attracted to work with your organisation –not just ‘filling a vacancy’. As a business owner and leader, I know the cost of not being able to fill roles in a timely fashion. I know what it’s like to say goodbye to people you have invested heavily in. But, people will stay for as long as they see that your workplace is right for them. And ‘right’ doesn’t mean having a pool table or access to a fully stocked bar.
Investing in extrinsic benefits are easy to replicate across organisations, however they are not a differentiator. For an effective employee value proposition (EVP) you need to focus on and foster your differentiators – what does your organisation do really well that no-one else does? What do you want your organisation to amplify that you currently may not recognise as valuable to employees?
In my organisation, part of our EVP is that we know we fast track the development of HR Graduates and turn them into competent HR Managers in a much shorter timeframe than general business. We also know that we turn experienced HR Practitioners into great HR Consultants – it is then the how we do this that is important to ‘sell’ as part of our EVP.
Communicate the value that you bring to your employees’ day-to-day lives and careers. Often, when people have been with a company for a while, they take for granted the things that make you unique – often only appreciating it when they depart. So don’t be afraid of making sure you reinforce the elements of your value proposition that people may not know about – or fully appreciate.
As a leader, by focusing on the above three HR responsibilities, you can ensure that your people are motivated, supported and held accountable to do their best work this year. Here's to making 2019 the year that you not only embrace your HR responsibility but, you own it.