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 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.

HR Professionals Fiddles While Organizations Burn

HR leaders who strategically contribute to their organizations are making huge differences — but they are few and far between. Too many HR professionals focus on compliance and HR metrics, when they should be focusing on crafting programs that can make a strategic difference to their organization. And they must lose their fear of taking risks.

I am a management consultant who got my start in human resources, so I am firmly convinced that HR has the potential to push organizations forward light years — if done correctly. However, it needs to change now and dramatically shift its focus to contribute in ways that genuinely enhance its value within organizations.

organization burning

Consider this alarming trend: In 2009, approximately 25 percent of the top HR jobs in the United States were filled with individuals who have a non-HR background. In 2005, that number was 21 percent.

When I ask HR audiences what those statistics tell us as a profession, the overwhelming answer is, “They don’t like us!” What kind of business answer is that? The painful truth is that organizations believe it is easier to invest in teaching someone technical HR knowledge than to undo the standard HR mind-set.

CEOs talk to me about their heads of HR, asking what they can do to help them become strategic contributors rather than compliance officers and administrators. They tell me, “I gave them a place at the table. But they don’t do anything meaningful with it. I am embarrassed about what the other senior level executives say about them because of their tactical focus on details and execution instead of seeing the big picture.”

Don’t get me wrong, I love the HR profession!

Those individuals who are strategic contributors today are making huge differences in organizations. This is the best time to be in HR because many of the most crucial problems organizations will face in the future are those that HR can help solve.

When CEOs are surveyed about the top challenges they face in the years to come, talent management and succession planning are always at the top. Clearly, creating this competitive edge must be led by HR.

However, a survey by the Sloan Center on Aging and Work at Boston College found that more than three-quarters (77 percent) of employers have not analyzed projected employee retirement rates or assessed employee-career plans.

And more than half (56 percent) have not assessed the skill sets their organizations need today or in the future. Where are the HR people in these organizations and how can they not be all over this?

We can turn this situation around — but only by focusing on the right things. Many of the things I am about to suggest are completely contrary to the current literature and focus in HR … and that has been a huge part of the problem.

1. HR needs to concentrate on talent management and succession planning, rather than compliance, compensation and benefits.

Turnover is one of the most costly hidden drains on the bottom line. A survey by The Saratoga Institute reported that 72 percent of employees leave their organizations because they feel they are not recognized for their contributions or are not sufficiently respected and coached by their managers.

When HR began to talk about retention — about plugging the talent drain — the discussion migrated to questions such as, “Do we have the right compensation plans?” and “What else can we offer as benefits to attract and retain people?”

But notice the disconnect: Almost three-quarters of the turnover in organizations can be attributed to the employee/manager relationship! Compensation and benefits are certainly important, but they are a small part of what keeps people invested in an organization.

Current research reveals that 60 percent of employees intend to leave their organizations when the economy improves. The Conference Board reports that job satisfaction has fallen to a record low of 45 percent.

HR professionals should put these surveys in front of managers and challenge every one of them to identify employees they are in danger of losing, what the impact of that would be on the bottom line and how the organization can avoid major talent drains.

At the same time, HR should identify and build the business case for which managers need more training and which need to be let go because they are causing turnover.

Human resources should be deeply immersed in talent management and development, which means there should be hard discussions with executives and managers. HR needs to get out of the business of believing everybody deserves the same treatment and should spend their organization’s precious resources on those who are the best raw talent within their organization.

This is not about playing favorites or discrimination. It is about skill sets, contribution and the future success of the organization!

2. HR needs to quit looking for the Holy Grail that earns them respect.

Human resource professionals need to adapt all they do to making their organizations viable for the next few decades — and quit following the latest advice about how to earn respect for HR. The function has been through several iterations of this from diversity initiatives, to metrics, to branding, etc.

There was, and is, merit in all these programs. Unfortunately, we focused on implementing the program to prove our worth rather than on what pieces, if any, might be of strategic value to our particular organization.

Metrics and measuring make good sense. It is the only way to tell if you are moving your organization forward and creating sustainability. However, HR became metrics crazy and we buried our organizations in our metrics, the ones important to our HR agenda rather than metrics that focus on how HR contributes to the growth of our organization.

Your organizational needs — not the HR profession — should set the agenda for what HR pursues.

3. HR needs to stop benchmarking.

Today, virtually all HR literature talks about benchmarking your organization against other organizations.

This means HR professionals are implementing programs or strategies that are being touted as the latest and greatest HR programs simply because these things worked in some other organization — but may not work well within the cultures of their organizations. Rather than benchmarking, HR needs to spend time envisioning what their organization will look like 10 years in the future, and create novel, innovative solutions that will speed up their organization’s transformation.

Talent development and management is a multi-year process with one year building upon the next. You should look at what others are doing in order to stimulate original thinking, but with a goal of creating something new for your organization.

Benchmarking is a beginning, not the end product. Stop asking, “Who else is doing this” and blaze the trail!

4. HR needs to be a risk-taker, rather than a compliance officer.

Stop saying, “We can’t. We’ll get sued.” What are the chances an employer will get sued today? Close to 100 percent. So, if it is inevitable, isn’t it better to ask these questions:

a) Is there anything morally or ethically wrong with what we wish to do?
b) What are the odds (as a percentage) we will get sued if we do this?
c) What will it cost us if we get sued and lose (average jury verdict in the jurisdiction)?
d) How much flexibility will our organization gain from doing this?
e) Does the flexibility outweigh the risk of being sued?

Determine what the risk/reward is and make the call. I once expressed this thought in an interview and the interviewer asked, “But isn’t that the kind of thing you can get fired for if you assess the risk incorrectly?” Of course it is!

CEOs and all other senior executives constantly make decisions that may put their jobs at risk if they are wrong. You cannot have it both ways. You cannot be a strategic player with a seat at the table and play it safe at the same time.

None of the other executives can do that, so why should HR be any different? It is always risky at the top!

5. HR needs to stop fooling themselves that they “know their business.”

I often ask in HR groups, “How many of you really know your business?” Three quarter of the hands in the room usually go up.

Then I ask, “How many of you understand the financials well enough to know when a number indicates a positive or negative trend?”

Then I ask, “How many of you know your products or services so well you could make a sales call by yourself and get an order? How many of you have ever delivered a piece of revenue to your organization?”

Usually at this stage there are almost no hands in the air.

All HR issues need to be framed in business terms — preferably numbers — because they are the life blood of any organization. We cannot merely say things such as, “Morale is down.” That generally results in five minutes of discussion in the senior-management meeting, after which the meeting moves on to “more important issues,” leaving the morale problem to HR to resolve.

However, if HR says, “We lost three employees last month and it will cost $213,000 to replace those employees,” the discussion becomes much lengthier and more valuable, as everyone gets focused and takes responsibility for reducing the turnover draining the bottom line.

HR professionals need to get themselves out of HR — either on a project basis or as an assignment — and learn their business. This means working in an entirely different area or areas of the organization, and not simply handling HR for another internal business unit. We need HR professionals to move out of HR and get real experience in other areas of their organizations — not just an MBA or SPHR designation.

We need to quit taking seminars taught by academics and researchers, and apprentice ourselves to executives in other disciplines who are successfully running organizations — people who are doing it, not simply talking about it.

We need to quit looking at HR surveys such as “The Top 10 Problems HR Will Face in the Future” or “The Top 10 HR Trends for the Next Decade.” Instead, we need to focus on the top 10 issues and/or trends organizations will face in the future and do something about them.

HR needs to be the answer, not the administration. As a means of doing this, HR professionals should recruit mentors who do not come out of HR, individuals who can broaden their practical business knowledge.

Nothing can replace the boots-on-the-ground experience of helping run an organization. It brings about the focus HR needs not only to have a seat at the table, but to be heard and respected — and to help set the agenda for the organization’s long-term future.

[About the Author: Margaret Morford is president of The HR Edge, a Brentwood, Tenn.- based management training and consulting firm serving clients across the United States and Canada. She is the author of Management Courage — Having the Heart of a Lion and The Hidden Language of Business — Workplace Politics, Power & Influence.]


The HR Time Machine – A Look At The HR Manager’s Role

Like platform shoes and bellbottoms, some of the old responsibilities and views of the HR professional have been updated to meet the current environment. The Role of HR Manager is definitely not what it was even thirty years ago. Below are a few of the major differences that I have seen.

One of the major shifts has been from HR being seen as the “Company Police”. A long held view, HR is known as the group that does the hiring and firing, metes out discipline, as well as stiffs you on a proper raise at the end of the year.

Today’s HR is more focused on employee development, counseling, and support. Don’t get me wrong, we still do the hiring and firing, but it is done in a more “humane” fashion, and after an employee has received intense behavioral and performance coaching. The shift to being viewed as partners, instead of the “big bad HR department” is in my opinion, one of the more defining changes.

Role of Hr Manager in todays time

To illustrate this point, in days past, employees avoided the HR office like the plague. In recent years, employees have come to rely on HR for a lot more than career advice. I regularly have employees come into my office to “just talk”. They also see us as a trusted source of information on maintaining home/work balance, dealing with substance abuse, or just plain venting about a coworker. I think HR has embraced the “human” element of the role and the employees feel more secure as a result.

Another major shift us the role of HR in promoting diversity. As our society continues to attract talent from across the world, promoting workplace diversity and inclusion is a much larger part of the HR role. We are responsible for training staff, coaching front line supervisors and managers and ensuring that everyone feels that their unique talents and perspective are welcome in the company. This article found in the HR Magazine  archives describes this concept in great depth. An excerpt reads:

“Diversity in the United States has evolved since the 1960s. As illustrated in Figure 1, diversity was first based on the assimilation approach, with everyone being part of the “melting pot.” Compliance (e.g., affirmative action, equal employment opportunity) is important in diversity, and key legislation has been an effective tool for change (e.g., Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990). Today, however, the impetus behind workplace diversity is that of inclusion and the business case: embracing and leveraging differences for the benefit of the organization. The collaboration of cultures, ideas and different perspectives is now considered an organizational asset–bringing forth greater creativity and innovation–with the result that many companies are increasingly focusing on corporate diversity initiatives to improve organizational performance.”

So now, we are moving away from requiring that employees assimilate to the current culture and embracing the differences that we posses. This helps to make companies more competitive in the global marketplace, as well as increase employee loyalty.

Last, but certainly not least, is the place that HR has been awarded at the executive level. Whereas previously HR was more of an auxiliary department that Senior Management delegated to, it is now a major part of the decision making process. Human Resources has been recognized as a key component in a company’s strategic planning process. No longer just consulted on employee relation issues, HR is helping to shape the company’s mission and image.

A recent example is of a company I am familiar with where the senior management was in a quandary on how to improve their market share and customer satisfaction index. The Director of HR is a regular attendee at the VP’s staff meetings and offered his suggestions regarding the matter. He proposed that the company introduce the “teaming concept”, in which employees work together in empowered, synergistic teams to achieve their functions goals. The focus on empowerment, innovation and problem solving result in superior products and services, less errors, better customer service, and increased employee satisfaction.

This company underwent a major culture change, as well as intense retraining and coaching, but the dividends were well worth it. This is all due to the fact that HR now has a seat at the table.

Now more than ever, HR Managers and staff are recognized as an important part of implementing the company’s vision, as well as a welcome aid in problem solving. In your organization, do you see HR filling this new role? What other areas do you see in which HR has evolved over the last thirty years? Sound off.

Strategic Issues In Human Resource Management


Strategic management seeks to coordinate and integrate the activities of the various functional areas of a business in order to achieve long-term organizational objectives. A balanced scorecard is often used to evaluate the overall performance of the business and its progress towards objectives… Strategic management provides overall direction to the enterprise and is closely related to the field of Organization Studies. Strategic planning and management are more than a set of managerial tools. They constitute a mind-set, an approach to looking at the changes in the internal and external environment that confront the manager. Using planning and management tools strategically, then, involves essentially a way of thinking, a mental framework or approach, as well as a set of analytic tools. For strategic management to be effectively used the manager must develop a strategic mentality.

Small Business Ideas

Organizations are working towards an outward-focused view of the way services should be provided – a fundamental shift from the traditional focus on internal concerns. At the same time, major opportunities for improvement may arise from developments such as new information and communications technologies, and the availability of additional financial resources such as the Invest to Save Budget. In many cases the response to the problem or opportunity will require the continuous attention of senior management of the organization.Be interconnected with other issues and developments. 

What is Strategy?
A strategy is a step-by-step plan of action prepared by an organization and by which it aims to achieve its plan or plans, thus, ensuring its success and survival.

What is Strategic Human Resource Management?
This is the step-by-step plan of action by which an organization employs, utilizes or manages, develops, and deploys its human resources in order to attain its defined corporate mission and objectives.

A human resource strategy is devised in respect of recruitment, employee deployment, motivation and engagement, and employee retention.

By doing this, an organization puts itself in the position of being able to achieve its mission and objectives through its human resources.

This follows from the way how strategic human resource is strategically defined.

This is the effective way of organizing the workforce by the adoption of a specific strategy, where employees’ performance can help to achieve the planned organizational targets, such as increasing revenue or improving the profit margin.

Strategic human resource management is “human resource management” carried out in a strategic way. The human resource activities are linked to the achievement of the organization’s overall objectives.

This is the new way of managing human resources as compared to personnel management.

To ensure a high probability of success in the implementation of strategic human resource management, a number of things are necessary.

Strategic recruitment where the right person is selected to fill the right job and according to organizational needs Using the right mix of incentives to motivate and engage employees who then can concentrate improving their performance Appointment of the right HR Head to provide the necessary leadership in making HR as a strategic partner An HR mission statement with well defined HR objectives drawn up in alignment with the overall organizational objectives Provision of the right set of training to every level of employees on an on-going basis Performance management system to identify high-performing employees for the purpose of giving rewards befitting their performance, work quality and output

Issues of SHRM

The strategic human resource choices involved in  low cost of production strategy include:

Train some of the employees in the area of time management, material handling at work etc. Retrenchment of surplus employees caused due to superior speed Pay for performance Promotions based on efficiency High quality work environment at the production place.These human resource issues are also known as functional strategies of  HRM.

 Approach to SHRM
This is the new way of managing people ensuing from the strategic human resource definition.

Human resources with all the competencies and potential are required to attain the HR objectives. These objectives are aligned to the organizational objectives by way of a strategic plan.

By achieving the human resource objectives, HR helps to achieve the business plan.

Role of SHRM
Strategic management of employees emphasizes the HR strategic role. This stems from the argument of many “gurus” on HR strategic importance.

One of the foremost things we need to know is the scope of the strategic HR and how successful organizations are leveraging their success on strategic human resource management

HR as Strategic Partner

These are among the important ones.

Recruiting the right employees. Align corporate values to your recruitment strategy. Well-developed competencies of the workforce, and their relevance to organizational core business. Participative culture where HR initiatives fully support the overall strategic plan. Effective use of information technology. Effective leadership through appointment of the right HR Head. Identification of human resource practices that make HR as strategic partner, namely, serving the business needs of your organization. Discard ineffective HR practices that do not contribute to the success of your organization.

Why make HR as Organizational Strategic Partner…
Some of the reasons may sound familiar to you.

To increase productivity of the labor force Competency and talent management Onset of information technology and the vast amount of knowledge used in the course of the activities of organizations The changing business environment Effect of globalization on the business landscape

The Human Resource Function and Strategic Business Plan
It was shown in a survey that there is a correlation between being strategic business partner and the effectiveness of the HR function.

You require strategic HR management to ensure that your HR function can fully support the achievement of business objectives.

The administrative reactive approach in people management can no longer support your organization in an increasingly competitive business environment.

Strategy Development and Implementation

Full participation of HR people in strategy development and implementation promotes HR as strategic partner.

Ensure that your HR Manager and HR professionals:

contribute to business decisions develop business acumen to understand how a profitable business is run are customer-oriented learn how to link HR practices to your organizational business strategy

The Future of SHRM 

Proponents of strategic HR management generated tremendous interest on the subject. Some large organizations had implemented it. In contrast, some lament the ineffectual efforts by many organizations in implementing the system.Strategic human resource management is not going to disappear. This is so as long as people continue to run organizations of whatever size and for whatever purpose. It is very certain that people will continue to play pivotal roles.

As the world of business becomes more complex and challenging, strategic human resource management will continue to grow in importance in the success story of organizations.

Importance of SHRM

The organization’s “ends” is its financial success. Human resource strategy is one of the means to attain this. Organizations have always tried to comply with legal obligations in the course of carrying out their business activities. Also, finance and technology are important assets. But people are required to make effective and efficient use of them.

In non-profit organizations, the end is to provide the specified services to the intended group or groups in the most cost-effective way, in the most satisfactory manner, and serving the majority of the target groups.

Effective development and implementation of an HR strategy requires HR professionals who are conversant in finance, negotiation, change management, and the overall operations of the organization.

An HR strategic plan aligns the HR function to the corporate plan. Good knowledge about the organization, its objectives, systems and processes, can assist HR people in doing this task well.


This all looks so easy on paper. Do this, do that, and you will be aligned with the mission and able to demonstrate your contribution toward it. Obviously, it is not that easy. Private sector, public sector, and some Federal entities have been struggling with this issue even before GPRA was enacted — and that works to our advantage. There is a wealth of information out there that can help — hundreds of articles, books, and studies have been written, numerous tools have been created, and many organizations have already tested a number of approaches. We can learn from all of these successes and failures. Where Do We Go from Here? But the only way to begin is to begin report.. To achieve this goal, we must all work together.

It’s kind of fun to do the impossible.


 Dr.Subba Rao .p, Personnel and Human Resource Management, Preface to the second Edition on 21st June, 2002.

Responsible HR: Creating the Best Job in the World

Employees want to have the ‘Best Job in the World’? As a responsible HR Manager there’ no reason why we can’t make the jobs of our workforce the ‘Best in the World’. Here’s how the Human Resource department can add value and definitely can do about making people love what they do.


Making the Job Right:

The first step that must be taken by an HR Manager is to find a job that matches the employees skills, interests and values. The second is taking control of the job description, to whatever extent possible and appropriate. As organizations change, jobs can evolve. As time in the job wears on, employees who are in tune with the organization’s needs, can volunteer for tasks that align with their interests and skills, and move out of roles that are less enjoyable. In order to have the best job, employees need to excel at their job. Proactively taking initiatives and challenges, continuously learning, thinking out-of-the-box and performing with focus and commitment makes the job truly incredible.

Creating the Dream Job:

HR Managers have a huge role to play in helping individuals attain their ‘dream jobs’. An HR Manager plays a very important role in creating the best job for an employee, mainly by providing an atmosphere for learning, creating a work place that the employee likes to work in and a work environment that rewards and recognizes employee performance. It starts with a strong ‘onboarding’ process, where the HR Manager effectively shares the organisation’s vision and mission and explains its goals clearly. This ensures that a new employee feels welcome, is charged up and hits the ground running with clear direction.

Role of HR in creating the ‘Best Job’:

  1. HR Manager create an environment which gives the employees an opportunity to give their 100 percent.
  2. Think of ways which makes the job more exciting.
  3. The HR Manager must recognize the employee’s true passions – concepts like knowledge or technology, job functions or skills.
  4. HR must make a record of tasks where an employee did something best at the workplace.
  5. HR Manager must make a note of the projects where the employee really enjoyed.
  6. List down all the accomplishments of the employee and create a mentoring program where employees can talk to people whose advise they value, people who have worked with them, and who have watched them in action.
  7. Finally, if an employee is already doing something he/she loves, HR Manager makes it rewarding by aligning them to the goals of the organization, contributing more than what is expected, and giving them every opportunity to learn.