So obviously being dissatisfied with the HR.com list of leading concerns, I had to make up my own list. The following is the systematicHR version of what I think should be keeping you up at night.
What keeps you up at night (systematicHR.com Version)
1. Engaging my workforce
Why is engaging the workforce number 1 on my list? Having an engaged workforce is a key driver in business performance, but also has major ramifications in your HR operations as well. Engaged workforces create less turnover problems, self motivate for learning and career opportunities, and generally cause less support strain since they are not complaining bout as many things.
2. Lowering the cost of HR operations
I said in the previous post that I don’t care about getting HR a “seat at the table.” (BTW – I hope we all hate that phrase by now.) We should already be there. What I care about is getting HR to stay at the table.
Let’s face it. I don’t want HR Operations to cost very much. What I want to spend money on is not the call center, data entry, or payroll systems. To the point that I can minimize these expenditures, the better because they don’t add immense value to the HR strategy (the call center being an exception at times). What I do want is to spend lots and lots of money on my talent management programs and on communications. I’d also like to spend lots of money engaging my upper and mid level managers in conversations about business operations. While perhaps not in the specific purview of the HR organization, HR.com did bring up a nice example of how you can partner with operational managers: take a dysfunctional team from unproductive to extraordinary.
The communications is for branding purposes, but also for change management. See number 4 below.
3. Workforce Strategy – U.S. Domestic Labor Pool and developing tomorrow’s leaders
I am worried about the theoretical decline in talent we’re supposed to be having in the next couple of decades. However, it’s not because I’m worried about talent management or staffing requirements. I’m worried that if this does not motivate us to start developing the next generation of leaders right now, we’re in big trouble. While I’m increasingly hopeful that the current set of leaders is going to stick around for a bit longer than originally predicted, they still are going to retire sooner or later, and the remaining workforce still may not be prepared for it.
We’ll always have enough talent, and if we don’t we can offshore it. But the identification and development of leaders is something we can’t lag behind on.
4. Managing ongoing change
Managing change takes the last spot of things I’d be worried about. Whether it’s as simple as a system implementation or policy and process change that requires some communications and retraining, or an acquisition of another organization, business is in constant flux in today’s world and the rate of change is only going to get faster.
I’ve stated it before, HR sucks at change management. If fact, I don’t know if most HR practitioners knows what change management actually is. We’re so embedded in the routine communications and in training, we’ve missed the boat on managing and changing employee behaviors – the real nuts and bolts behind change management. This is a critical element for HR to be good at and we simply don’t have the competencies needed.
What keeps me up at night might not be what keeps you up at night. I’m looking at this from an HR industry perspective. Your organization could have some very specific needs. Regardless, I still believe these 4 issues will determine how HR moves forward into the future, and how we’ll respond to the multiple potential future business environments.