Executives are pressured to be budget-minded while increasing sales and productivity. “Do more with less” is the banner many are forced to hold high while walking across the customer service area or the down the manufacturing line. The pressure of expanding territory, managing the brand(s), and keeping talent in the building require complicated maneuvering. While begging, pleading and groveling tend to be our default posture, we can really choose differently and with a better chance for lasting effect.
A detailed, passionate plan is necessary for a Human Resources professional to be engaged in the business process. We have to sit down and create an action plan with both pre- and post-process details. This may very well be a daily process. There are moving parts and market fluctuations that cannot be depended on to remain static. The dynamic nature of our commerce requires us to be nimble and adaptable. Write and review processes everyday. Grab your coffee (or latte or Oprah Chai Tea or whatever it is you like today).
- Where are the pain points of the company?
- How did it get this way? What has to change?
- What are the expectations for the company as described by the Executive team?
- Who should be handling certain components of the process? When can I sit with them to review?
- What elements were accomplished? What’s working well?
- Where are there still missing pieces? Who is addressing those needs? How?
- Who is/was unable to handle the responsibilities given? Time for change?
These questions can be drilled down more, but the general idea is to challenge yourself to answer them. Sit down ahead of time with the pre-process list of questions and write down answers. When we answer them in our heads only, it’s often the case that’s where they’ll stay. Write the answers; from these answers, an action plan is created. This is not an exercise in accountability only, but also in planning with purpose.
Our companies are in need of dynamic resources to handle the mandate of “more with less.” I don’t see this trend changing anytime soon. The fear of finances around tax increases, ACA compliance and global military activity is real and impacts markets.
Listen, for those of you still holding onto hope that you’ll be allowed to fill that job requisition for additional help in your department…let it go. Don’t depend on it. It’s been two years. The company is not bringing on another HR Generalist for you. Be creative, be industrious, but don’t be stupid. If the answer is that next quarter might look better and we’ll see then, give it up. Work with what you have; just work it stronger and with real expectations. I have had the opportunity to sit with HR departments who regale me with the plans they have for an additional person they’ll eventually be allowed to have. In the meantime, though, that list of work and plans sits dormant waiting for that person. Why?
Meet with the executive team to determine the fiscal expectations of the company for the next 6 months. Then take that understanding and create the process list for pre-, during and post-. Assign roles, speak to the cultural leadership needed and provide timelines. Yes, hold people accountable, including yourself, but do it based upon a clearer understanding of the expectations of the company’s financial strategy.
Oh yea, for those of you reading this who are saying, “no one on the executive team shares this with HR,” then figure out how to make them. Give them the business case for HR’s involvement. Show them what you know how to do. Let them see the resources you have ready to go once you know where you’re going. Of all people, HR seems to know how to do more with less. We’ve done it for decades.