6 Alarming Ways HR Executives Are Putting Enterprise Growth At Risk
Originally posted by Glenn Llopis @ www.forbes.com
HR executives and their teams are not evolving fast enough and it’s disrupting enterprise growth. As the need for human capital has reached an all-time high, the human resources department is ill equipped to tackle today’s corporate transformation strategies.
Individuality is at the center of what is enabling business transformation. HR executives are struggling with how to guide their organizations to best serve the unique needs of a more diverse, informed and knowledgeable individual. For example: How do organizations recruit and retain top talent by offering an inclusive workplace culture that promotes cross-silo, cross functional cooperation that will embrace the unique ways today’s top talent thinks, acts and desires to influence? How do organizations allow its clients and customers to provide feedback and then create the systems to ensure we operationalize that feedback to drive better outcomes across the enterprise? How do organizations, leaders and their employees become more openminded to adopt innovation mentality-based corporate cultures that promote readiness for change?
Wait, HR executives should be able to provide clarity, understanding and strategies around these issues? Absolutely! They are the people and organization experts, aren’t they? Or, are they the compliance experts in support of people and the organization? While these questions are subject for debate, influencing growth strategies requires a growth mindset that HR executives were not expected to have in the traditional corporate playbook that designed the HR department as a cost-center.
Today’s more informed and knowledgeable individuals in the workplace and marketplace are disrupting the status quo by redefining business models and reinventing industries. Unfortunately, the power of individuality and its influence on the business was not considered in the traditional corporate playbook – thus putting current transformational efforts to drive enterprise growth at risk.
HR executives are on call to reinvent the ways they work, influence and lead. It’s time for a growth mindset and strategic approach that gets you and your department out in front of the change. Your department must reinvent itself from a cost-center; compliance mentality. It’s about people analytics, workforce and leadership development and change management when it comes to talent management and the new role that inclusion must play. If corporate growth is at the top of your organization’s strategic priorities, you must become a “growth thought partner” that significantly influences business outcomes and creates a clear path for people to define your company and its brand’s future. To begin this process, there is a sense of urgency to solve the following six alarming ways HR executives are putting enterprise growth at risk:
1. Compliance Driven
As one senior human resources executive I spoke to said. “The speed and needs of the business are not in alignment with what we’re capable of delivering to them. What they need, we don't have the capability, understanding, resources and knowledge to deliver from an HR standpoint. So why would the business unit leaders come to us first? What business unit leaders expect from us is to be complaint to the needs of their people. We are considered order takers, and responsible for managing quotes and regulatory issues that can impact our organization’s reputation.”
Ensuring compliance with rules and behavior is an essential and crucial part of HR, especially in light of the ever-growing revelations about sexual misconduct and unconscious bias in the workplace. However, compliance can’t be the only domain of the people most connected to the human capital of an organization. HR executives must continuously reimagine and begin to create new systems to enable enterprise growth as individuality is at the core of transformation.
2. Lack a Growth Mindset
It’s often been said that “it’s all about people,” but this fundamental fact must now evolve within the office of corporate strategy. In the next 3 years, the HR department and its executives must co-exist within corporate strategy. It’s no longer an option. And with this responsibility it must become a requirement that all HR executives have at least 10 years of experience in running and leading a business unit with full profit and loss accountability. Having an MBA is just not enough.
Today’s HR executives don’t always have that in their arsenal. HR executives must create new strategies and systems to deploy and develop the talent management and leadership competencies across the enterprise to ensure that a growth mindset exist from within the organization to get out in front of marketplace demands. HR executives must eliminate the attitude of “playing not to lose” that has created an execution-driven mindset that puts enterprise growth at risk.
HR Executives must think and act like a CEO.
3. Solving for the Wrong Performance Metrics
To move from compliance to growth, HR executives must re-evaluate existing performance metrics that evolve beyond employee engagement surveys and the management of politically charged diversity programs. HR’s ability to influence enterprise growth must consider metrics/measures that capture both the soft skills and critical business needs. Here are few examples:
- Readiness to Change: The existence of methods and processes are in place for evolving as the rapidly growing multicultural, multigender, multigenerational, multitenure employee populations we serve evolves in ways to drive growth.
- Big Data (People Analytics) Related to Inclusion: Beyond quotas, capabilities are in place for capturing big data to reveal enterprise-level trends related to inclusion that measure decision making, teamwork, and interdependency on diversity of thought and opinions in new ways that drive growth.
- Individual’s Freedom: People need to feel like they can be their whole selves; meaning they don’t have to hide aspects of themselves from leaders or coworkers (regardless of hierarchy or rank) to most effectively introduce new ways to drive growth.
- Employee Feedback Loop: Methods for getting feedback from employees about their ability to influence and how that feedback is accounted for in our growth strategy.
- Knowledge-Sharing About One’s Current State of Health: Processes are in place to share and apply lessons learned about a particular employee population’s state of health so that insights don’t get stuck in a silo, but instead get shared across the organization in ways that influence growth (not only in the workplace, but in the marketplace).
As my organization has experience first-hand, introducing new performance metrics is often met with resistance because it requires the entire enterprise and its leaders to reevaluate their own existing metrics and systems to support new metrics. Don’t let complacency stand in the way of growth. If the foundation is broken, fix it. Without a strong foundation, growth is always at risk and never sustainable.
Be bold and allow the following mantra to serve as your inspiration, “our growth strategy; our new way of thinking- was influenced by the HR department.” Yesterday’s cost-centers must think differently to influence tomorrow’s growth.
4. Must Reinvent the Traditional Corporate Playbook
The corporate playbook was created to serve a one-size-fits-all approach to people. It wasn’t designed to account for diversity of thought in how to best lead and serve differences in people. And now that “individuality” has disrupted the status quo, businesses must find new ways to drive growth through the abundance of differences that exist in the workplace and marketplace. Why? Because it has become less about the business defining the individual and much more about the individual defining the business.
Here are some examples of what two executives from a Fortune 50 company said about the pros and cons of what happens when the business defines the individual:
- Executive #1: The pros are that you know what is expected. You have a set goal and an end state. It is a very directive type of leadership but is what we typically fall back on. The cons are a lack of ownership and buy in. We are just soldiers being sent on a mission.
- Executive #2: The pros are role clarity and clear expectations due to the narrow definition of what good looks like. The cons are you never see over the wall of what could be. The opportunity to deliver greater value is lost. And the chance for the associates to find satisfaction, joy and meaning in that journey to deliver greater value is lost.
Here are what those same two executives said about the pros and cons of what happens when the individual defines the business.
- Executive #1: The pros are a much more engaged and creative workforce. The cons could be slower results, but the results would be much more impactful and sustainable.
- Executive #2: The pros lie in the potential for associates to unleash value to the organization is significantly greater. It is just plain more fun and rewarding. The cons are if you don’t have the team and/or culture that is consistent with the expectations. Leaders and peers across the enterprise must all be aligned or mismatched expectations will lead to frustration.
Individuality is today’s new normal and HR executives must be held accountable to reinvent the corporate playbook before the marketplace passes their organizations by and they lose the top talent that understands how to drive growth. The days of forced assimilation are over.
5. Widening Enterprise Silos
To drive enterprise growth, HR executives must create new leadership accountability systems for making sure the organization is welcoming at every level to every individual. That means focusing on individuals not as “one-size-fits-all” templates and but rather making a concerted effort to know and account for the realities and the values of what each individual can bring to influence growth in the workplace and marketplace. HR executives must lead this movement.
Two opportunity gaps that HR executives can immediately act upon to solve widening operational silos:
- Revisit your organizations beliefs and values: Per my organizations research, the power of individuality has made it more difficult for organizations to consistently live, apply and practice a set of values that were defined by the business (that carry throughout their mission and vision statements). Since today’s more diverse, knowledgeable and informed individual is defining the business, the individual is now evaluating the connection between the organization’s “why” and their own personal “why” and if there is direct alignment to their own beliefs and values. When the business defines the individual, the individual feels a sense of forced assimilation and lack of belonging. Now that the balance of power has shifted, this not only has significant strategic implications in the workplace but also in the marketplace. HR executives should allow the individual to influence the organizations values and beliefs or at the very least allow them to enlighten you about how they feel about them and whether or not they believe they are authentic.
- Lead inclusion as a growth strategy: Breaking down silos is instrumental to maximizing human capital to create a more interconnected and cross-functional enterprise. Individuality is about removing the need for permission and allowing the individual’s unique perspectives and opinions to influence more. Siloed departments fuel one-size-fits-all environments that put enterprise growth at risk. Leading inclusion as a growth strategy – eliminates complacency and gives people the courage to see and seize opportunities previously unseen. Click here to measure your leadership’s and organization’s readiness to lead inclusion as a growth strategy.
6. Employer Brands Are Inauthentic and Masking Realities
Stop trying to be so perfect when it comes to people. People don’t want perfect, they want to know that the organization they serve has room to grow and they themselves could define, influence and close gaps. In fact, when you are marketing an employer brand that sounds too perfect, you are already creating a trust barrier with prospective top talent because they know that given the current climate in today’s workplace – no one is perfect.
HR executives must start being more vulnerable with the truth. Stop selling things that employees don’t agree with and/or prospective talent will find to be hypocritical. Today’s employees want the opportunity to be part of the solution and not part of the problem.
The first 5 alarming ways HR executives are putting enterprise growth at risk is a clear depiction of today’s new realities and truths that are making it difficult for an employer’s brand to be authentic. What’s even more alarming is that organizations are not investing enough to solve for these issues fast enough and thus they are not being accounted for in their corporate transformation efforts. Perhaps we are now beginning to understand why today’s enterprise growth strategies are at risk.
Two recommendations to elevate this conversation:
- Share this article, start the debate and get closer to a solution in support of your organization’s business model and growth strategies.
- Watch and share the video. Encourage your leaders and employees to share their perspectives and thoughts in writing. Objectively use their feedback to identify the most pressing needs for your organization that you can act on now.