Mercer has a nice little write-up about your first 100 days as the CHRO of an organization. Here are five things Mercer says your should be thinking about.
1. Connect the goals of the HR function to the goals of the business. By starting with the broad business challenges and strategy, you’ll convey to senior executives that you understand the need to link workforce investments to business results. ((Mercer. February 10, 2007. “Your First 100 Days as Chief Human Resources Officer.” Retrived from Mercer.com on March 18, 2007.))
This one is pretty obvious. If you’re not a strategist, you have no business being the CHRO. The trick here is conveying to the executive team that you know what you’re doing, and conveying it in their language, not in the language of HR. “Their language” generally means you’ll need to understand every detail of HR and how it translates into cost, profits, productivity and the workforce.
2. Identify the greatest sources of pain for immediate attention and prioritize longer-term issues. While you won’t be able to address all of the organization’s workforce or HR issues in the first 100 days, you can identify the most critical ones, assess the available resources and develop a plan of action. ((Ibid))
This is one of the places where the Mercers, Towers Perrins, and Watson Wyatts (ordered by alpha) of the world come in handy. These guys are great at getting a full scope of your organization and helping to prioritize based on importance, urgency and overall impact of each component. And they do it quickly. It feeds directly into the next part which they can also help with.
3. Create a plan that will guide your function and your business partners. After you identify your goals, you can create a vision of success and a road map to get there. Your action plan will clearly articulate the activities, timing and required resources. Your plan should engage stakeholders throughout the organization to ensure a solid connection between business and workforce strategies. ((Ibid))
Too many HR organizations try to focus on the HR organization. As with strategy #1 above, if all you are focused on is HR, you’re simply not going to make it. HR and all it’s programs are integrated to at least 3 components: The business partners in the field (may be managers or field HR consultants), the customer or employee, and the business or executive team. The internal focus on HR should only apply when you’re looking for internal efficiencies in process or technology. Remember however that your real impact comes from integration with the “outside world.”
4. Build the case for change within the function and throughout the organization. The scope and magnitude of change will be different in each organization, but there’s no question that people will expect action – and business challenges will demand it. ((Ibid))
You come into the business and the first thing you are told is “HR is running pretty smoothly.” This immediately tells you two things. First, HR is completely not strategic. In today’s business environment with talent, ever changing business needs, constant M&A work, few great vendor relationships, and increasing pressure on internal costs, if HR is running smoothly, it’s purely transactional. It’s time to bring out the big guns and get to work.
Either that, or they told you HR is not running smoothly and the already expect change. Either way, HR as an industry is in a critical phase of evolution and with that goes change no matter what the state of your organization.
5. Create a powerful personal brand as a business leader and change agent. What you do – and what you choose not to do – will communicate the value and character of your personal brand. ((Ibid))
Communicating with both your HR staff, the business and the executives will determine how successful you are in your role. After all, it’s not your vision that is in question, but how much your business and executive team buys into it and how your HR team buys into executing on it. You’ll need support all around.