How To Be A Strategic HR player In 2015?

My Contribution for the next HR Carnival on 28th Jan, 2015

My good friend Ben Eubanks at his Upstart HR Blog is hosting the next Carnival of HR on January 28th. He is looking for posts revolving around the theme of "How to be a STRATEGIC HR Player in 2015". For better understanding, here is what Ben has to say....

In recent weeks I have spent a lot of time researching and writing about HR strategy, strategic planning, etc. I took the SPHR exam, which focuses heavily on strategic HR. I think HR as a profession knows that this "strategy thing" is important, but they don't know how to do it, where to start, etc. I'd love to hear some examples, simple ones, of how people actually put this stuff into practice. Or maybe just a tip or two on where to start for the newbies. 

Ben Eubanks
HR Blogger & Analyst

I thought this could be a good start up post for the New Year which can help our HR folks to get prepared for 2015. Also I thought of including some key highlights and lessons learnt in 2014 which will set the ball rolling for all our HR folks in 2015. 


So without wasting your time, let’s dive in...

2014 - The Year That Went By.... 

  • Slow Rate of Growth in the Economy

The world economy didn't grew as expected. This has led to companies making cautious investments in large projects. However, they invested significant amount in developing their people and becoming cash efficient while keeping their continued focus on building stronger and engaged teams. 


  • Social Media had a significant impact on Talent Management

There couldn't have been a better time than 2014 for utilization of social media for searching talent. There are countless experiences big and small which has changed the way we manage talent across organizations. 

Be it LinkedIn or Facebook, organizations has realized the potential of social media and tried to use it for recruitment and selection. Several companies have used it for branding and making key announcements. There was a change witnessed where organizations preferred digital media over print ads for recruitment and selection.

Though this is just the beginning, social media will definitely change the way we work in the HR space.​


  • Creation of a HUGE Entrepreneurship Ecosystem

From the development perspective, 2014 has seen a tremendous surge of interest in start ups both in terms of number of new companies that were formed to graduating students joining start ups in preference to other jobs in big multinationals.

This kind of long term trend will not only help in the growth of a country but would also result in addressing the developmental needs of the future. 


  • Penetration of Smart phones and E commerce platforms

The emergence of smart phones and E commerce platforms has resulted in creation of jobs however the numbers are not that encouraging at the moment.

How Can HR be a STRATEGIC Player in 2015?

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What Strategies HR Needs to Focus Upon in 2015?  

What I am about to share is simple yet effective strategies which can help HR to become a Strategic Player in 2015. 

Ready to rock and roll.....here I go​


  • Know the pulse of your business and HR will emerge as a "SELF RELIANT" Department
  • Work upon Digital diplomacy and Digital governance as people would prefer connecting via public conversations. This can help in significantly reducing hiring costs.
  • Make use of online learning technologies to diversify and provide opportunities to your employees in acquiring new skills 
  • With the changing needs of employees, HR should look forward in providing environment and services that will not only support their people but will also increase their engagement levels.
  • Make use of digitalization to improve customer and employee experience
  • Enhance deeper collaboration between top academic institutes and industry as it can provide a platform for both to research and learn
  • Focus on corporate responsibility and sustainability 
Do you agree that the strategies above will help in shaping the future of HR in 2015? How can HR take the role of a strategic partner in an organization? Do share your views in the comments below.

Eight Team Collaboration Myths Busted

Team collaboration is highly confused concept in today’s corporate world.

We easily exchange and use it for TEAM-WORK.

I have observed every one of them across organizations I have worked with – big or small.

So what are the Eight Team Collaboration myths that I strongly believe influence the attitudes of team members?

Here goes my list:

1. Collaboration Comes Naturally to Everyone.

Leaders feel that once the right tools are in place, everyone can collaborate. Collaboration is medium for achieving shared goals without any leader to resolve the conflicts. Hence set clear guidelines of shared goals, hone skills to influence and creatively bargain with each other.

2. More the Merrier.

Since the professionals have competing responsibilities and limited capacity to participate. With more number of people involved, it becomes increasingly difficult to bring everyone on common ground for decision making and conflict resolution, deterring the goal.

3. Team Building Requires Time Away from Regular Work Routines.

A team building excursion or gala lunch is not necessary to conjure collaboration. In fact, it is during work, stress and deadlines that team collaboration is most richly experienced.

4. Team Collaboration Depends upon the Leaders.

Leaders provide leadership – mission, vision, values, roadmap and the lot. They uphold and exemplify company standards but they do not drive team collaboration. Their role is to facilitate and equip teams for optimal performance.

5. Team members must like one another to collaborate.

Not really. Some of the best professionals I know don’t like their team members on a personal front. That does not deter them from working with the individuals to deliver on goals. It’s not about “liking” but about having high regard for each contributor.

6. Harmony achieves great results.

Harmony isn’t the best bed for innovative or disruptive ideas. Debate and dissent are more likely to deliver the best from teams. A genuinely collaborative team will fight it out when ideas and strategies differ but will either convince or accept to focus on a common agenda.

7. New employees bring innovation and fresh ideas to the floor.

They do. But it’s also true that the longer a team stays together, the more productive it is. Call it familiarity or comfort; these teams are well set in their expectations from each other and individual roles to deliver without too many glitches.

8. Collaboration means Video-conference, Meetings and Chat.

Tools and technology help in making collaboration easier but the right integration, hand-holding, clear processes and metrics are required to make it a success. Right tools play very small role in end result.

About Author:

Kinjal Vora, (@vora_kinjal) Marketing Evangelist at Teamgum & Drona Mobile. Bringing engagement and collaboration tools to professionals around the world. Teamgum is a platform for team members to present their thoughts, knowledge, and learning to each other; open topics for debate and discussion; exhibit professionalism and accountability; and create a truly synergistic environment for team collaboration. Teamgum is a simplest link discovery, sharing and collaboration tool for professionals via browser extension and mobile app.

Do Organizations Really Need An HR Department?

Sometimes the only thing worse than having an HR department is not having one.

With a sudden boom in the HR software industry it has become a lot easier to automate or outsource people related processes such as attendance, payroll and benefits.

So the big question is Can We Do Away with the HR Department and can the managers take up the HR role in the organization?

This article on the Wall Street Journal caught my attention and I thought of asking you and what is your take on the subject. Another thread on LinkedIn which takes a dig on this subject is a perfect read.

In 2012, U.S. employers had a median of 1.54 HR professionals for every 100 employees, up slightly from a low of 1.24 in the recession year of 2009, according to the Society for Human Resource Management. They earn a median annualized wage of about $51,000, government statistics show.

Think of the financial and strategic risks when you consider eliminating certain portions from the HR Department.

If we study the trends of last 5-12 years, many transactional jobs such as payroll, attendance management, recruitment, on boarding and benefits are already being outsourced by companies. Sometimes it does makes sense when you can have an outsourced expert who can do these jobs faster, better and cheaper, isn’t it?

As of now we see that HR has a core role to play in any organization, but how do we justify the existence of this role in the longer run?

Can non-HR Managers be trained to make HR related decisions pertaining to employees?

Can they keep pace with the ever changing legal and statutory laws? Or can we outsource them as well?

Some companies are planning to decide on doing away with the HR departments. Will this trend grow in the coming times?

Let me hear what you think in the comments section below.

Should I Tell My Colleague About His Body Odor?

Hello Amit,

Thanks for sending regular emails on the HR subject and enlightening me like always.

I am sharing with you a problem, however I do not know how to convey it to the person concerned.

Please help. I have a colleague of mine in our team with a very strong body odor. He has a great sense of style and dressing. By just looking at him you can’t even make out that he will not be conscious of his body odor. He is well qualified but seriously I would not want to be even in the same room when we are told to work together. How should I tell him so that I am not going to hurt his male ego?

Jessica

 ——————————————————————————————————————————————————

Hi,

I have always believed and experienced one thing in life.

People will accept and appreciate your inputs, if they feel that your feedback is for their own good and that you truly care for them.

You ought to sound “GENUINE” so that things work on the positive side.

I think your colleague is not ignorant on his body odour, it’s just that he himself might not know about it.

What I can make out from your mail is that you really want to help him so I see no way of you hurting his male ego.

Communicating effectively is a vital point here. 

According to me there can be 2 approaches here.

personl hygiene

You can go up to him and can tell “My dear friend you stink. Use a deo or people might stop talking to you. 

OR

You you may suggest him that “My dear friend, as I am working with you for sometime now, I am a bit concerned and would like to suggest you to use a deodorant for hygiene and personal health. My intentions are to help you as I think this will help you in your career and would also increase your efficiency at workplace. Hope you don’t mind on my inputs as I see this will help you in the long term

Which approach you think will be more effective?

Second one….RIGHT?

On the first go it may come as a surprise to him, as there are some people for whom personal hygiene doesn’t matter that much. There are people who make it to adulthood without understanding which parts of their bodies need a good soaping regularly. Even though there are quite a number of deodorants in the market these days ranging from strong to mild (depending upon your stink capacity, people however ignore this basic hygiene aspect and consider it a bad investment.

So if your colleague is one of those guys, on the cheaper side ask him to wash his clothes regularly. So, if you guys share a good rapport, you need to explain to him in a polite manner that this may prove bad for his career. A bit of soap, some deodorant and laundry detergent would help him resolve this issue.

Further, if this thing is pointed out by a senior person, it could result in embarrassment for him. Make him understand that your discussion around this topic is for his own benefit and not that you would like to insult him. Your sense of genuineness will play a big role in this communication. I know being a female it would be challenging to convey such a thing but you never know your help may shape his career in the long run.

Further, I would ask you to suggest him to see a doctor as his stinking thing can be based on some medical problem, hence recommend him to bring it up as soon as this problem doesn’t become obvious to all. Secondly, if you feel that you would not be able to deal with it address it to your HR as a hygiene issue and let them take it up with him.

What do you think on my approach on this subject? These things sometimes becomes sensitive if taken wrongly by an individual. Let me have your views on this………please reply in the comments section below.

Top Five Emerging Trends in Human Resource Management

How has the HR services evolved in recent times? What are the future drivers in the HR industry?  How will HR create a better user experience? Why do HR exists in any organization?

In the recent edition of “People Matters“, Vikram Choudhury writes on the HR Industry story and the Disruptions for Growth. I present to you the major bullet points of the story. For complete and detailed reading, grab your copy today.

From a mere “transactional” role, the HR department is expected to rise and become a better service provider. Businesses are becoming mature and hence expectations and delivery from the HR department is growing tremendously. In my current post, I would like to touch upon the Top Five Trends in Human Resource Management that will emerge as a “GAME CHANGER” for those in HR.

1. Recruitment Services

  • Demand shifting to outcome based expectations
  • Consolidation is on the cards
  • Quality and timelines will be key to survival
  • Failing to adapt can prove to be fatal
  • Time to invest in Talent

Opportunities:

  • Positive hiring outlook in companies
  • Staffing and temporary recruitment
  • Managed Services

Threats:

2. Learning and Development Services

  • Learning budgets have shrunk in organizations
  • High demand for leadership development
  • Evolution of the partnership model
  • The emphasis on quality will rise

Opportunities:

  • Leadership development
  • Technical and supervisory skills
  • Gamified learning

Threats:

  • Uncertain political and economic market conditions
  • Slowdown in learning budgets
  • Changing demand patterns

3. HR Technology

  • Tech segment to mature faster than other segments
  • The increasing influence of cloud and analytics
  • Social technologies continues to grow
  • Technology companies to focus on the SME space
  • Traditional business models may become ineffective

Opportunities:

  • Cloud-based technologies
  • Analytics
  • Socially integrated products

Threats:

  • Dynamic demand landscape
  • Finding key talent
  • Low awareness of consumer market

4. HR Consulting

  • Companies should build base for future growth
  • Technology is changing nature of demand
  • Time to develop specific expertise
  • Engagement and productivity will be key

Opportunities:

  • Global expertise
  • Specific HR services
  • Skill and operations consulting

Threats:

  • Low margins
  • Low discretionary spending of consumers
  • Talent availability

5. HR Outsourcing

  • Service providers have to build value-added services
  • RPO will come in a big way
  • Opportunities from HR’s changing role

Opportunities:

Threats:

  • Talent availability
  • Low consumer maturity
  • Expectations of global standards

 With challenges comes a time of great opportunities. Good times lies ahead for the HR industry. There is a significant advantage for companies who have deeper knowledge of market conditions. Customizing product offering based on local conditions will help companies have competitive advantage in the market.

Do you think of other areas which can prove vital for the HR industry? Are there any other vital challenges that you can think of? Do share your inputs in the comments section.   

My Boss doesn’t want me to WORK..

Hi Amit,

This is my first mail to you and I would like to share that I’m really liking the stuff you send on a regular basis. I am honored to be part of your mailing list.

My purpose of writing to you is to share about my new job in HR and I seek some solution on the same. I hope that you will help me out.

Presently I am working in a Hospital as an Executive – HR (Training and Development) and I want to really work hard but somehow my Sr. Manager – HR (female) is not giving me enough work from the last one month after I joined them as a full time employee post completion of my training period. Its really frustrating for me to sit idle the entire day.

To develop a better understanding, let me explain in a little detail to you. Before joining this hospital on-rolls, I was with them for a probation period of 3 months as a Trainee – HR. During this time, I used to make presentations (visit entire office/hospital) by taking pictures of misconduct (if any) in the hospital as well as gathering training requirement from the various other departments. I completed my job as a Trainee and since April, I am on their rolls as an Executive HR in the hospital. Now the problem is that since I have joined them as a full time employee, my Manager is not giving me any work to do. I asked her to clear my role and assign work so that I can be engaged but she is not willing to give any independent responsibility to me.

Daily I am asking her to allocate some work to me but nothing is happening. There are only 7 people in the entire HR department including me and my Senior Manager HR. There are around 1000 employees in the hospital hence work is there but I am been kept out of it. All the current HR team members with me have less than a year of experience and I have in total 5 years of experience but unfortunately I had to discontinue my job after getting married on account of some unavoidable circumstances. So there is a gap of one year in my present job and my last job.

 

I am not getting the correct way to handle my manager who was appreciating my work during my Training period and I really don’t know what went wrong that she is not asking or even giving any responsibility to me. This is sometimes becoming very frustrating for me.

Can you please suggest some solution or approach which I should adopt as I am not in a situation to leave my  job and sit at home doing nothing. 

And also can you please suggest me the work which I can do which can help me make my own place in the HR department. Culture is good here …no politics…no unfair treatment to people…….. ALL IS WELL and good here

Please suggest me what should I do.

 

Hi,

First of all understand that the organizational dynamics changes when you join them as a full time working professional. As a trainee your work was appreciated, but that doesn’t mean you will get a similar recognition after you are employed with them. The quantum and quality of work suddenly changes. 

The organization starts expecting a lot once you join them as an employee. When they are paying you, they expect jobs to be finished in a more professional manner. The level of expectations from a Trainee and that of a paid employee is quite high and you would have to work harder to prove your worth.

In our company, when we hire trainees, we assign projects and expect them to learn and work sincerely. Some take their training period seriously while majority just want a Training Certificate. We appreciate if they perform as per our expectations however, in case they don’t deliver, it does not hamper our mainstream work as we have already given them non critical tasks. How much keen they are in taking up vital tasks forms the basis of giving them important and critical assignment from our end. Otherwise training becomes just a mere formality for both of us. 

You mentioned that as a trainee you performed well and got an offer from them to work full time. Its an achievement and you should feel good about it. After all you must have done a good job in your training period. Happiness is a great motivator and one should celebrate small victories to keep the spirits high and flying. 

There is a bigger responsibility on your shoulders now. You need to take your calibre and performance to the next level.

Ambition is the DESIRE to get what you deserve. Reckless ambition is the desire to get what you deserve whether you deserve it or not.

As an HR professional I can say that communication resolves many issues.  However, this medium must be used effectively as over usage can turn relations bitter.

None of us like people banging our doors again and again, when we don’t want them to come in.

Your constant follow up with your manager to assign work, can irritate her. You never know she might have some different plans for you. May be she wants to observe initially before giving critical assignments to you. I think learn the organizational dynamics and wait for some more time before asking quality work from her.

The management needs to build trust in you and ensure that you settle down first. May be they are testing your patience (which is an important quality required in HR) and are waiting to see how you react.

Keeping an individual idle is the biggest test of patience.

My advice to you that since you have recently joined on rolls from April, don’t be restless and give some more time to them and to yourself.

Few suggestions from my end. Hope they help you.

  • Give yourself and the organization time to understand each other.

  • To get yourself acquainted with the organizational procedures by reading their manuals, policies etc. Meet more people in  the company and understand their job profile.

  • There is this thing called Job Description (JD) for any role in an organization. You can ask your manager to share the JD for your role. In case there is no JD, you can create one by taking support of your boss.

  • Do whatever work (even small) assigned to you with full sincerity and loyalty.

  • You mentioned that the culture is good and favourable. Try and become a custodian of the organization values and heritage.

  • Give your 100% in the training and development initiatives. Sit with people and interact with them and identify gaps in skills and how can you cater to their training needs. Prepare a summary report and present it to your boss.

  •  Looking at your work history an association for at least 2-3 years with a company is good as continuity is maintained and you have a pretty decent resume. Recruiters don’t consider you a frequent job hopper.

  • Try to be more pally with your boss. Don’t irritate her by asking for work again and again. Instead try and find out what she likes doing and how she spends time when she is not working. This way you can establish a connection and discuss on topics that are of interest to her as well.

Last but not the least, stay calm and composed and don’t let small obstacles shake you in any way.

Let me know what you think and how things changed after implementing my suggestions. Do you think they will work or not. Let me hear your frank feedback in the comments.