Here is the content from a recent Podcast I did on the “HR Podcast” series. TO hear it in its entirety click here.
Can HR Transform to Truly Impact Business Success?
The profession of Human Resources has evolved over the last 30 years from an administrative function to one focused on positively impacting the bottom line results of organizations. While still required to ensure compliance with regulations and regulatory agencies, the function is focused now on building organizational competencies necessary to compete and win in today’s very competitive and rapidly changing global marketplace.
Truth be told, the evolution of HR is still in progress. Many organizations are at the very beginning in trying to make the transition, while others are at the forefront and making some good headway. But there are many critics that don’t actually believe HR will ever be able to make that transformational shift at all. Mark Fogel is one of those people, and he has a very clear opinion of the topic and some very important and meaningful advice for HR professionals today.
Mark is a former CHRO and CMO, a successful entrepreneur, a writer, and a notable speaker. He has many awards to his name including SHRM’s 2007 Human Capital Leader and SHRM’s 2009 Innovation Award winner. He is currently the leader of the retained search and consulting practice for Signium in New York City. Signium is a top 25 global search and consulting firm.
Key Learnings From This Episode
State of HR Today. Mark believes HR’s transformation from administrative to an HR Business Partner is like having a GPS, and you have several ways you can go. There are the strategic folks and then there are the tactical people who are taking the side streets and are getting caught up in the street lights at every block. It is a tale of two cities. There are some players out there who are ‘getting it’ and they move the profession/function forward, and then there are a lot of people who are stuck in the mud, spinning their wheels. Mark feels we should get more people rallied around doing what needs to be done to keep the profession fresh, vibrant and important to the business.
HR with an attitude. Mark has espoused an HR posture for success, which is ‘HR with an attitude’. What does that mean and how did Mark arrive at that kind of stance as an HR professional? Attitude means a lot of things to a lot of people. When you are asked to describe a ‘New Yorker’, the first things people think of are ‘sassiness’ and ‘having an attitude’. To Mark, attitude is not about being aggressive or obnoxious. It is about being competent, taking a stand when you have the information and the facts, and not backing down. It sounds relatively simple, but it is difficult when you have people all day long pressing you to move their agenda instead of doing what is best for your business and your people.
Applying “HR with an attitude” to his career. Over the first half of his career, Mark took the slow path, listening to others, trying to do the right thing, and being methodical. One day he realized that if you stand by your convictions and push forward, push away the naysayers, and do what you believe in as long as you know it is right, everything else works out, and it has – and that is when his career took off.
Mark spent the first 14 years of his career working in retail, part of it in operations and then part of it Human Resources, even though people told him he could not make the jump. He wanted to get out of retail, and people told him that although he was HR Retail, he would never get out and work in HR for other companies or industries, but he did.
People would continually give him advice, but he soon came to realize that ‘advice is cheap’. You need to believe in yourself.
What does Mark see as the critical behaviors necessary for success as an HR professional? Data analytics has become a major part of everything we do, and not just in HR. It has become critical to be able to ‘back up’ with credibility. To take a step forward, many businesses are doing predictive analytics – not just saying ‘this is what happened in the past’, but actually saying ‘we can make decisions on the future using this data’ – capturing data and using it in a way that helps you move forward. We need to stop measuring things that don’t add value anymore. HR has to catch up to the times, and right now, it is a runaway freight train. Utilizing data, synthesizing it down to actionable plans, and taking action on those will lead to success.
It is critical for HR professionals to move to a true organizational development mindset. It is easy to do compliance, onboarding, benefits administration, basic compensation, and to administer reviews. It is much more difficult to engage people and to get them to use a feedback culture – to really understand what makes their people tick and keep their people happy. Engagement was the rage a few years ago, but we need to get beyond engagement. Engagement is something that should happen every day.
Is HR going to be able to make the transformation? Mark believes ‘yes’ but that it is a tale of two cities. Some organizations are making it already, and not just the large companies who are getting a lot of press. There are many small and mid-size companies that ‘get it’ and have become extremely agile and optical. The ability to be flexible and to not get locked into an old mindset – those businesses have jumped the river, and they are on the other side. Most want to make the jump, but they either have not or they are struggling with it.
Recommended Reading and References From this Episode
fistful of talent Recruiting Daily The SHRM Blog