Are there consistent themes that run through HR 'best practice' initiatives? How can HR ensure it gets buy-in from critical business leaders? Lisa Robson provides some tips.
Best practice HR initiatives… these are something that emerging HR practitioners aspire to develop and implement. To explore this topic further, The Next Gen facilitated a professional development seminar for early and intermediate HR career practitioners to provide them with the opportunity to hear from two highly regarded HR leaders from organisations that demonstrate contemporary and progressive HR practices.
The 80 attendees enjoyed a panel discussion between Pip Russell, the Vice President of HR for Schneider Electric and Phil Taylor, the Head of People & Performance at General Property Trust.
The panel shared their experiences in developing and implementing fit-for-purpose HR initiatives to meet the needs of their respective organisations. The discussion explored four key initiatives:
Activity-based and output-orientated working
“One HR Approach” to role model alignment and consistency across the organisation
Innovative leadership development and talent validation
Low-cost but high-value employee benefits
The audience heard that the HR initiatives that will be relevant and beneficial to one organisation may not necessarily be suitable for another. Of course, to be effective, these programs need to be specifically customised to suit each organisation’s respective business requirements, however there were certainly some key takeaways for the audience that can be readily applied across the board.
Get back to basics!
A commonly-held frustration of HR and business leaders is that budding HR practitioners can be all too eager to work on elaborate programs.
Often what an organisation may require is a simple but clever solution to a “pain point”. For the HR function to ensure the success of larger-scale initiatives, they need to have built up the credibility through doing the simple things well.
“The business won’t let you do the sexy stuff until you build solid foundations and get the basics right,” Pip explained.
Influence, influence, influence
The implementation of any initiative, whether large or small, will require the ability to obtain the buy-in of key stakeholders to ensure its success. Achieving this commitment, particularly for emerging HR practitioners, can be challenging.
Our panel provided some tips to the audience on enhancing their influencing capability. Their need to be resilient and persistent was highlighted. Pip advised that “if at first the business pushes back, think outside the square for another way to present the initiative.”
The panel explained the importance of speaking the language of the business and thinking as the leader would. Phil stated that “talking in terms of a leader’s ‘legacy’ can be very effective in getting their endorsement.”
Don’t be afraid to trust!
The panel emphasised the importance of a trusting culture. This is two-fold; trust both your colleagues and also your broader workforce to do the role they were hired to do. They were employed as they demonstrated the skills and capability to perform the role, so give them this accountability.
This is not saying that peers and employees shouldn’t be challenged or questioned when needed, but focusing on output rather than face-time will benefit the success of HR programs. Phil believes that “the space for employees to reflect and plan goes a long way!”
Although a “one-size-fits-all” approach to HR initiatives is not advisable, there were a number of consistent themes shared by the panel that emerging HR practitioners can apply across the board for most fit-for-purpose HR initiatives:
Get the basics right first
Use a variety of tactics to influence
Trust your peers and workforce
For those who do have the opportunity to implement leading-edge HR initiatives, understanding these key takeaways will most likely contribute to the success and buy-in of these programs
About the author
Lisa Robson is a Consultant within The Next Gen division of The Next Step, a specialist consulting practice in the human resources market. For more information call (02) 8256 2500 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Website: www.thenextstep.com.au