Tim Sackett’s HR 101: HR Strategy For Dummies (Yes, It’s Pretty Simple)

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Jul 11, 2014

If there is one thing I hate in HR, it’s when I hear other HR Pros try and make HR seemingly overly complicated.

Look, we aren’t launching the Space Shuttle, we’re only trying to get good people to come and stay at our organizations. It’s not rocket science, it’s people science, and it’s probably less science and more common sense.

In fact, we could call your HR strategy, People Sense! But, that’s sounds like a bad HR tech company name.

The reality is that our organizations actually have fairly low expectations when it comes to HR strategy. It doesn’t seem that way because we tend to get stuck in doing so much busy work that anything strategic throws us off our tactical game.

What HR should be delivering consistently

In truth our organizations really just want HR to deliver some very simple things, consistently, without fail. Here they are:

  1. Make sure everyone gets paid on time and correctly. This should be done 99.99 percent of the time without fail.
  2. Make it easy for people to get answers to simple questions. I need to see a doctor about a bump. This should be one call, one click — not a process.
  3. When the hiring manager needs a new person, a back-fill, or an upgrade, give me a realistic timeline on how long this will take and what my role in the this process will be. Don’t think you have to do it all, just be clear about what each of us is going to do and deliver those items.
  4. When I have no idea how to lead my team, please help me be better now, and also help me get better for the future.
  5. Figure it out, because we don’t care you don’t have a “system” that can do this or not do that. That’s a “you” problem, not a “me” problem. Figure it out, that’s your department. I don’t tell you we don’t have the proper system to design parts; that’s not your problem. It’s my job to make sure we get parts designed, and it’s your job to make sure of the all the people stuff.
  6. I’m concerned about how to get work done right now, on deadline. I need you to be concerned about how we’ll get work done in the future, and keep me in the loop on these issues.
  7. Help me to help get my team better.

HR, in big or small places, is pretty simple

We tend to believe that our processes and systems will drive our strategy. They won’t; they’re just processes and systems.

Side note: Stop asking Enterprise Systems to change to your way of thinking. You paid a lot of money for a great tool, which was designed under specific methodology and processes that are way more scientific than you. Follow their work flows and you’ll be so much better off in the long run. Your own processes and systems aren’t that special.

HR strategy, from small businesses to the largest corporations and organizations in the world, aren’t really all that different. There are a few things we need to deliver almost perfectly, and then we need to help our organizations get better.

We add in so much complexity that these simple truths get lost by so many HR Pros.

It’s about delivering pay and benefits flawlessly, finding and retaining talent that works for us, developing and guiding leaders to run effective teams, helping our employees create better versions of themselves, and ensuring we are prepared for what comes next.

Sounds simple, right!?

This was originally published on Tim Sackett’s blog, The Tim Sackett Project.

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