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Agile HR

Do you feel like you spend the majority of your time each day fighting fires, with multiple priorities coming from all directions? How many of you are putting band-aids over most things to get through your day? How many of these are routine tasks versus strategic?

Compensation reviews, for example, are one of the most time-consuming and complex routine responsibilities HR has. It’s a process we conduct at least once a year and is a company’s biggest expense. However, in this technical age, most companies are still using spreadsheets for compensation planning and reviews! Why are we stuck in this black hole of spreadsheets for a process that is so routine?

Agile HRHR (“People”) teams are spending way too much time doing non-strategic things. Instead of making decisions that have an impact on the company’s growth, the People function has become a juggling act of administrative tasks via archaic tools, limited resources, and lack of support from the business #thanklessjob 

Today, companies are fighting for the best talent and trying to find ways to separate themselves from their competitors. However, many are still losing the battle.

The Change

How do we find time to move the needle on these challenges and start winning the war for talent? People teams helps attract, engage, and retain talent, but why just the People team? What if all leaders were held accountable too? Executives care about their people as much as Chief People Officers. And they too, should be accountable for attracting, engaging and retaining our most valuable assets. But, are leaders open-minded to this idea?

Companies today are hiring more for culture fit and training for the skills. That’s why we see People leaders who don’t have typical HR backgrounds still succeed in this role. What if all leaders assumed some traditional People responsibilities such as recruiting? After all, no one knows better what skills and qualities are best suited for their teams than the leaders themselves. People teams could provide the tools and resources that leaders need to help find the talent. We could then leverage recruiting firms to find more strategic and harder to fill positions.

Companies have long used employee resource groups (ERGs) to drive company culture and diversity and inclusion initiatives. In a similar way, new batches of leaders/employees can rotate to take a fresh look at areas HR. Many companies have found success leveraging outside resources, utilizing experts in different areas to ebb and flow with business needs. For example, companies are using GoCoach to connect employees to professional and executive coaches to help develop various skills as well as enhance employees’ career and growth. Providing employees new ways and outlets to discuss and handle challenges and develop, results in higher performing and engaged employees.

The Outcomes

If we had more leaders invest in employee success and contribute to enhancing employment brand, we could hire the right talent the first time. When leaders are more accountable for recruiting and performance, they are also more invested in retaining their top talents.  This could be the conduit that allows People teams to get out of the administration weeds and actually have time to go sit at the proverbial table. We need to create a more self-service and empowered environment for our managers. For example, investing in a software to administer compensation reviews or a consultant to roll-out leadership development programs can allow for a more iterative and efficient processes, freeing up the People team to focus on more strategic responsibilities.

Organizations that are more risk-averse may face push back if they try to incorporate these more agile changes. However, it’s always good to brainstorm with leaders of an organization to see what might be worth trying. Who knows, one of these solutions might just stick and you might implement a “Purple Cow” that separates you from your competitors when trying to attract the best talent. Instead of putting band-aids on issues, you could have time to focus on strategic initiatives. You could finally have more time to make decisions that have significant impact on the growth of the business.

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