The intersection between HR strategy and HR technology

I tend to buddy up taxi drivers.  No, it’s not that I think they are fascinating to talk to, I have much more mundane reasons.  I’m so obsessive about this that I have my own driver that I call in quite a few cities.There are actually reasons for this.  First, I’m not a smoker, so if a driver smokes, I can usually smell it and it bothers me a bit.  Second, I like to sit in a clean car.  Third, Some cabbies are a bit too willing to fart in their cars.  Lastly, I just like to give business to people who are “good guys.”

One city I don’t have a regular cabbie in is New York.  It would be far too difficult to find someone considering how long it takes a cabbie to get across town for me to have any expectation that someone would come pick me up.  Additionally, most cabbies in New York are not particularly friendly, and drive in such a way as to make me want to hurl within 3 minutes.  However, today I had probably the most surprising New York cabbie experience of my life.

I have an apartment in Greenwich Village and on this particular morning I was heading to JFK to go home to SFO.  I was looking around for a place to eat, but nothing is really open in the Village before 11am, so I just hopped in a cab complaining about the lack of food.  About 3 blocks before the Williamsburg Bridge, the driver pulls over in front of an Indian restaurant, tells me to get out, and escorts me to the counter where he proceeds to order me food (first asking if there is anything I don’t particularly like).

It occurs to me that we all go about our daily jobs, and we all probably do them better than satisfactorily.  However, I’m not sure how often we go above and beyond the call of duty in areas that have nothing at all to do with our jobs in HR.  This particular cabbie had a job to get me from point A to point B.  His job had absolutely nothing to do with stopping for food, let alone showing me his favorite place, let alone ordering the best stuff for me.  (and yes, my regular driver in SFO has invited me and my wife over for dinner as well).   

In HR, we talk about things like Workforce Planning, but I’m not sure how often our workforce planning practices reach into the business and look at future projections for sales or upcoming shifts in projects that we can help the business plan around.  We talk about how self service environments need to be simplified, but we don’t reach into related business processes outside of HR and ensure good linkages (think about updating finance budgets when someone changes positions).

At the end of the day, we’re really good at what we do, but we don’t really try to extend our positions from HR into end to end business processes.  We implement end to end HR that crosses the employee lifecycle, but we don’t try to make the world better for end to end business lifecycles.  As good as we can be with all the HR stuff, we need to extend ourselves past HR if we want to have our customers truly appreciate us.

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4 responses to “Extending HR”

  1. Andy Avatar

    I assume you got the name of the restaurant? After all, managing and leveraging knowledge is as important as recording it.

  2. Vince Lammas Avatar

    Great story and really good points about stepping out from the traditional HR boundaries into the broader business environment.

    It was the experience of looking at the widest possible business benefits of new ways of working … making effective links between the use of HR information systems, effective financial management, workforce governance and resulting insurance costs that pulled me out of HR!

    Having soent time with the wider environment “on my radar screen” and taking time to improve work with and between a variety of business teams I found it impossible to go back to the old day job!

    Keep up the good work

  3. Stacy Chapman Avatar

    This is a constant challenge in workforce planning. One of the problems is that in HR we are encouraged to standardize and systematize everything so we have “best practice”. But for the really important workforce planning issues, there is no one way to do it…because once you are deep in those end to end business processes, you need to respond to them, not try to force the fabled best practice upon them. We say “workforce planning a menu, not a prescription” (hey, we’re full of cliches).

    Sure, for the basic forecasting and headcount work HR can offer a “magic button”, but when it comes to the really important things in workforce design and change, the approach adapts to the problem. Think of it as situational workforce planning rather than standardized workforce planning. So if you really want to do enterprise workforce planning, the idea is to put in a simple layer of the standardized stuff, and enable creativity and problem solving (aka indian restaurants) for the big stuff. AND, don’t use consultants.

    To be honest I think vendors and consultants make it worse with the promise of that darned magic button.

  4. HR Exhibition Avatar

    did you get discount there? if things like that happened to me. I’d be a bit suspisious. some cabbies can help generate business and take commission. but that’s just me.