By Susan R. Meisinger
More HR Leadership Column:
While thinking strategically is an innate skill for some HR professionals, others need to learn what it means to take that step toward one of the most valued HR competencies. Take a broad view of the HR function and the role you play within it, and then look for ways your actions might help achieve the business goals of the organization.
Innovation by HR
With business picking up, now is the time for HR leaders to increase employee innovation in their organizations by leveraging performance-management, assessment and compensation strategies. While initiatives will vary by company and industry, HR needs to take responsibility for fostering a culture of innovation.
Still a Long Way to Go
Optimism about the progress of women in the workplace is tempered by recent studies and real-life events. It seems the challenge for HR leaders remains as daunting now as it ever was.
Setting Standards for HR
An ongoing process to set minimum standards for HR, similar to the generally accepted accounting principles so prevalent in finance, offers both an opportunity and a risk for HR leaders. Being able to comply with already-set standards leaves one free to concentrate on more strategic issues. But being unable to comply could put one's job at risk.
The ease of using social-media tools, combined with recent indications that the Democratic-controlled National Labor Relations Board will be examining acceptable uses of technology by employees -- and not just union employees -- means that HR leaders should be taking a hard look at the issue as well.
Connecting the Dots
Educational achievement in the United States continues to lag behind while, at the same time, debt-ridden federal, state and local governments may have to cut back on funding schools and colleges. HR leaders should be proactively working to prevent problems at their organizations.
Pinpointing Leadership Qualities
Social networking is changing the way HR leaders think of legal risks and recruiting opportunities. It also should make them think about the way they select high-potential candidates for leadership-development programs.
Ignore the Noise
HR leaders will always hear complaints about the dreaded performance-appraisal process -- mostly because of managerial discomfort with providing honest feedback to direct reports. Ensuring managers are able to provide criticism, when necessary, is more important than redesigning forms.
Do Less. And Do It Better.
Seasonal event-planning should not be a high -- or even mid-level -- priority for HR leaders, especially when there are so many strategic initiatives that should take precedence. And the same is true when considering new programs. Make sure your HR function is successful at what it already does before adding on.
A World Without Open Enrollment?
The healthcare-reform law doesn't go into full effect until 2014, but many HR leaders believe that one of the results may well be the loss of employer-provided health benefits. And that loss will loosen one of the links employers have with their top talent.
Is Business a Foreign Language for HR?
"Knowing the business" is not the same as understanding "the language of business," contends Meisinger in her latest column on whether the next generation of HR executives will have the skills needed to navigate tomorrow's business environment.
Time for Action
Talent-management programs require hiring managers and HR leaders to focus on skills and abilities, and ignore the irrelevant. That's why bias -- for whatever reason -- ultimately harms a company's bottom line as the most-qualified candidates are ignored in favor of nonproductive reasons.
Engagement through a New Lens
When attempting to engage employees, HR leaders must understand that individual motivations vary. They must try to create -- for themselves and others -- a sense of meaning, purpose, hope and pleasure on the job that, not only engages employees, but delivers value to customers, investors and communities.
HR's Citizenship Competencies
Corporate social responsibility efforts continue to be entwined with an employer's brand, which requires HR leaders to ensure their organizations have the necessary talent onboard to execute both sustainability and business strategies.
Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid ...
With the vote on healthcare reform roiling beneath the surface, Congress and the White House have many other issues to consider before the elections in November. Since many of the potential bills and regulations relate to the workplace, HR will be challenged to not only stay on top of those issues but stay focused on strategic HR leadership.
Silence is Golden
Public acclaim may be lacking for HR leaders who are influential in their organizations, but their advice and guidance are crucial to the success of their companies. The achievements of an organization's talent-management program will lead to respect for the HR function. It won't happen the other way around.