Never before have business conditions been so ripe for H.R. to make its difference. Not only are companies struggling for profitable growth with some downsizing and some adding people, but now the recipe for business success requires H.R.’s secret ingredients!
We all learned about the Stone Age and the Industrial Age, and we could probably refer to more recent decades as the technology age. We are in the Age of HR now. Let’s start this discussion with a look an S&P Market Value Chart. This chart identifies the importance and value of business assets over several decades. You’ll see that something has changed.
Looking at this Market Value Chart, you’ll see a noticeable shift: whereby in prior decades the assets deemed most critical and valuable were “tangible” i.e. equipment, buildings, machinery…it is now the “intangible” assets that are most critical and valuable to business.
What are intangible assets? These are prime examples:
- Human Capital
- Intellectual Capital
- Execution Capability
- Leadership Credibility
- Strategic and Vendor Relationships
H.R. professionals are often well schooled in one to four of the six key asset areas shown above, with a strong depth and breadth of knowledge about people, the Human Capital asset.
Are you ready to be a strategic Knowledge Provider to your executive and management teams? If so, you can bring your specialized knowledge to the table, helping executives in making effective, high-impact decisions by sharing your unique perspective. Let’s look at knowledge you can share in the Human Capital space. Examples:
- High performance impacting revenue, profitability, and market share is enabled when your people feel passionate and committed to what they do. It is becoming increasingly recognized that Employee Engagement is not employee satisfaction but is an emotion fueled by using preferred skills, obtaining desired knowledge, understanding personal fit with the strategy, having opportunity to contribute the company’s unique customer value and more.
- We recommend utilizing theories of Maslow and Argyris to build engagement, and Herzberg for satisfaction. H.R. can educate and partner with management to create a highly engaging work experience for your people, to bring out their best performance.
- Organizations committed to building strategic performance provide training and development that enables employees to accomplish strategic objectives, rather than delivering generic training and development based on “best practices”.
- You can influence your organization to identify & prioritize strategic needs that can be used as the basis of training and development, to provide employees with the critical tools and content which will enable people to cut through the clutter, execute the strategy, and truly differentiate the company.
- Initial training sessions could define “strategy” as the reason customers choose to buy from your company rather than from a competitor — the unique differentiation your company has. You can help your people to understand it, to know who the competitors are and how you differ, and to know how they contribute to the company’s differentiation.
- Alignment of the Value Chain (i.e. the value adding tasks, policies, procedures, decision-making, budgets, priorities, systems, and procedures in use each day to get work done) with the strategy removes barriers to performance and standardizes practices and behaviors that add value for the customer.
- For example, per a Forbes article, “Customer Service: What Southwest Knows And You Don’t (Hint: Being Nice Isn’t Enough)”, by Micah Solomon, Southwest airlines has set up their value chain to enable gate staff to generate boarding passes when delays cause customers to miss their flight connections. Gate personnel hand these to affected customers while they de-board, minimizing the stress and hassle of reserving new connecting flights. Southwest has aligned their internal processes and trained their people to deliver a unique, positive customer experience.
Further, H.R. can partner with executives to identify and utilize the right consultants who have the most effective strategic tools to share. For example, our innovative and easy-to-use organization assessment can provide insights that are essential to improve your organization’s readiness and capacity to execute its strategy.
Now that timing is more favorable than ever before for H.R. to make its strategic contributions, what will you do differently? How will you leverage the H.R. function’s expertise to benefit your people and the business at the same time? It’s in your hands now.