The Value of People & Good HR in Organizations

The Human Resources function can be quite misunderstood in many organizations. People often think it’s the group who plans the parties or who fails every year to keep the cost of our benefits down. Maybe worse, it’s the folks who make us complete performance reviews at year-end when we’re already too busy to do our “real work”!

Not too long ago, we actually had “Personnel” departments in organizations. Over time, these groups were renamed, but the work and their stereotypes really haven’t changed. As we assess the current state of HR in organizations and consider what drives high-performing organizations, it’s clear that someone needs to attend to these critical people functions.

In larger corporations, HR departments regularly consist of talented specialists who lead each of the various functions across the employee lifecycle. Talent Acquisition specialists lead recruitment and selection until prospective candidates are hired into an organization. HR Generalists (often referred to as HR Business Partners) then support those new hires during their initial on-boarding activities and beyond with fundamental HR tasks. Training and Organization Development specialists provide more focused attention to supporting the next-generation of leaders and facilitating other organization effectiveness activities. Specialists in other ares like Payroll, Compensation, and Benefits also support an organization’s workforce. What do you do though when your organization isn’t big enough to hire all these functional specialists?

In smaller organizations, HR tends to be nothing more than a legal compliance function more in line with what was once called Personnel. In fact, it’s not uncommon for the senior HR executive in these organizations to be the CFO or General Counsel. While these professionals might be skilled at performing the basics and minimizing potential liabilities for an organization, neither will likely be effective managing the employee lifecycle experience. So when is it time to hire a true HR professional?

The best way to evaluate the need for a more formal HR function is to consider the opportunity cost placed on your business. If the CEO of a small business is the first person screening and interviewing candidates, then we might want to engage a part-time recruiter to perform this critical role. If your General Managers or other senior leaders are developing their own training programs for their direct reports, then again we may be using the wrong people to perform these key tasks.

There are plenty of consultants who provide specialized outsourced HR support to organizations that are smaller or perhaps just growing slowly. Once an organization reaches 50 employees, it’s more likely that a dedicated HR Manager will be needed. At more than 100 employees, it could be a more seasoned HR Director who is required to guide the efforts of other HR staff and people champions across the organization. Ultimately, the decision rests with the owners and senior executives of small to mid-market companies.

Posted in Employee Development, employee engagement, Employee Morale Tagged with: , , , , ,

Enhancing Your Employee’s Life-Cycle Experience To Achieve Peak Performance

In today’s tight labor market with historic levels of low unemployment throughout the U.S., it is imperative for businesses to hire the best people – and keep them! But how do you do that when so few people are looking for jobs, or maybe more importantly when so many can jump ship so easily just to get a quick bump in pay? There actually are several key elements in an employee’s life-cycle experience that can make a huge impact for your organization.  Read more ›

Posted in business, Change management, Coaching, Empowerment, Engagement, Executive Coaching, Family Business, Family Values, Leadership, Management, success Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Vacation: The True Sign of a Great Leader

As summer quickly comes to a close, I find myself reflecting on the many different leaders I have the privilege of coaching these days. One of whom actually took an extended 4-week vacation this summer, and another who worked her way through a shorter 1-week family trip to Hawaii.

Let’s be clear. I am not judging either of these otherwise very busy and successful results-oriented executives. One for leaving his team to their own devices for an entire month. One for not getting the quality get-away with her family that she had expected. I’m simply recognizing the value of getting away for some good old-fashioned R&R from time to time. The physical and emotional break from work not only gives our bodies the rest they need but also gives our minds the fresh perspective to contribute when we return to work.  Read more ›

Posted in business, Coaching, Executive Coaching, Leadership, people, Performance Improvement, success, Uncategorized, Vacation, Value Tagged with: , , , , , , ,

Putting the 70% Back into Learning & Development!

How often do your leadership and team development efforts stall out because you can’t settle on a day when everybody can get together for training? Or maybe you get stuck because your HR partner wants a full day of classroom training to achieve your most critical learning objectives, and your leadership can’t/won’t give up more than two or three hours – at most! Well, what would you say if I told you that you are probably putting 90% of your effort into solving just 10% of the problem?  Read more ›

Posted in Development, Employee Development, employee engagement, Employee Morale, Empowerment, Executive Coach, Executive Coaching, Leadership, Learning Tagged with: , , , , ,

Leading Organizational Change Instead of Trying To Manage It!

For more than 20 years now, I’ve been leading all kinds of change efforts in all kinds of organizations. New CEOs and business leaders with new visions or strategic objectives. Merger integration between two previously separate companies. Technology implementation to upgrade business systems. Small family businesses, high-growth companies, Fortune 500 corporations, not-for-profit organizations, and government agencies.

The one constant in all these efforts is PEOPLE. People commissioned with implementing the changes. And people on the receiving end who may or may not want these changes to be implemented. For better or worse, Andersen Consulting (now Accenture) coined the term “change management” back in the ‘90s, so many business leaders more commonly think about managing these complex – often contentious – changes as if it is merely a process you can manage from start to finish rather than leading them forward with the people most impacted by them. The largest association of professionals who specialize in this field even named itself the Association for “Change Management” Professionals just a few years ago. When are we going to learn that we can’t manage change any more than we can manage people’s reactions to and experiences of change?  Read more ›

Posted in Change management, Coaching, Excellence, Executive Coaching, Innovation, Leadership, Leadership Skills, Organizational Change Management, Organizational Values, success, Uncategorized, Vision Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,

Understanding Why We Hire So Fast & Fire So Slow

I participated in a leadership workshop for other CEOs and business owners several years ago, and the speaker shared one poignant remark that has stuck with me ever since! In many organizations, we have a tendency to hire very fast and fire very slow. While this may feel like the right thing to do in the heat of the moment, it rarely produces the results we’re looking for.

So why do we do it? More importantly, what can we do about it? The first step to solving this problem is understanding the root causes, so here are several reasons why leaders tend to hire fast and fire slow in most organizations.  Read more ›

Posted in Accelerated workplace, Accountability, Achievement, Action, Action Planning, Advice, business, Change management, Coaching, Employee Communications, Executive Coaching, Firing, Hiring, HR, Leadership, success, Uncategorized Tagged with: , , , , , ,

Achieving Excellence with Email Communication

When I wrote my doctoral dissertation 20 years ago, I researched a variety of different tools to enhance virtual teaming and communications within and across companies. Email was already the most prevalent form of communication and information sharing back then, but people were not nearly as dependent upon it as they are now. Since then, email has had a profound impact on business and the world around us.

I recently had the honor of facilitating a management workshop that was the final course and culmination of a three-year leadership program for the participants. When asked about the key takeaways from their three-year learning journey, their resounding response was to share stories from and recognize the impact of their Business Writing course. Why? Because of the increased prevalence of email communication in each of their daily lives! Do we need any other proof to demonstrate the critical function email plays in our organizations?  Read more ›

Posted in Accelerated workplace, business, Coaching, E-mail, Executive Coaching, Innovation, Leadership, success, Uncategorized Tagged with: , , , , , , ,

The 4 P’s Of Executive Gold

Eight years ago, I wrote a blog post entitled “The 4 P’s of Olympic Gold”. The article was inspired by Shaun White’s amazing Gold medal performance at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. Anybody who watched the Men’s Halfpipe competition that year though knows that White didn’t just deliver one Gold-medal run…

The results were clear before White even started his second and final run. He was still standing on the platform overlooking the crowd when he learned he already won Olympic Gold. In that moment though, he didn’t stop and do the victory dance. He didn’t take the easy way down the pipe with his board in hand. After what seemed like a long debate with his coaches about what to do, he instead looked down to his fans and did what a true Gold medalist would do. He delivered an even better performance than his earlier run, stuck his final landing, and beat himself for the Gold medal – again!  Read more ›

Posted in Accomplishment, Accountability, Achievement, Action, Action Planning, business, Coaching, Executive Coaching, Innovation, success Tagged with: , , , , ,

What To Do about Millennial Mania

Let’s be clear. This article is not about what’s wrong with Millennials, how we can get rid of them, or even how we can change them. I’ve stayed out of the Millennial fray for years now because I don’t think there’s anything wrong with a generation of workers who simply have different wants and needs than those before them. As a somewhat typical Gen Xer myself, I am absolutely the antithesis of my uber-professional Baby Boomer father in more ways than our age!  Read more ›

Posted in Coaching, Executive Coaching, Innovation, Leadership, Management, Managing Performance, Milennials, success, Succession Planning Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Eight Strategies To Create Your Always, Ongoing Performance Management Process

Performance Management

Did you just complete your annual performance reviews at the end of the year? If so, congratulations! No? Then, that probably means you’re still dreading it’s that time of the year!

How often have you heard a business leader grimace or otherwise complain when someone in HR announces it’s time to complete your annual performance reviews – again? People often think of performance management as that thing they have to do once a year at the end of every year for HR so that people can qualify for their bonuses. While that may be part of the process, I hope for your sake that isn’t all that performance management represents in your organization. To be effective, it really needs to be an always, ongoing activity!  Read more ›

Posted in Accelerated workplace, Accomplishment, Accountability, Achievement, Action Planning, business, Change management, Coaching, Collaboration, Commitment, Communication, Executive Coaching, Leadership, Performance Management Process, Performance Review, success, Uncategorized Tagged with: , , , ,

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