One of my big takeaways from this year’s WorkHuman Conference pioneered by Globoforce is that human resources needs to think more like marketing. I know you’ve heard this message before. In fact, I’ve written about it before.
But the marketing / human resources connection continues to be a good reminder. Our value as human resources professionals isn’t always in the activities we do for the organization. It’s also about partnering with employees and managers to create good programs. Here are four strategies that I heard during the conference that I think are good to keep in mind:
- Listen Hard. I know HR professionals know how to listen. We do it all the time during interviews and investigations. But in this case, we have to not only listen, but listen with a very open mind. We have to be in a place where our first reaction isn’t “Oh, that can’t be done.” Or “We tried that a few years ago and it didn’t work.” Our marketing department is listening to customers with a very open mind. Their reactions are “Hmmm…I wonder if that would work?”
- Align HR Strategy to Business Strategy. Human resources must understand the business. When HR does, then they can design programs that make the business stronger or solve a business problem. It’s hard to create buy-in, secure resources, or properly measure the results of employee programs that don’t align with the business.
- Be Bold. But Not Irresponsible. There’s no rule that says human resources can’t be bold. Organizations place value on creativity and innovation. That should extend to human resources as well. What HR can’t be is reckless and irresponsible. We need to create cutting-edge employee programs. And we can do that by listening (see number one) and aligning solutions with the business (see number two).
- Get the Sequence and Pace Right. I’m a big fan of the “start small, then scale” approach. It might be tempting to think of program implementations as a competitive eating contest instead of a logical, methodical progression. In addition to not taking on too much, HR needs to be very cognizant of saturation. Know when managers and employees are suffering from change overload. We want the organization to embrace the new program. Not be tired of it before it starts.
Personally, I think these concepts should not only apply to HR but the entire organization. Think about how great our organizations could be if everyone listened with openness, aligned programs with the business, took calculated risks, and execute well. But on some level, if we want this to become infectious within the company, it starts with us.
P.S. If you’re looking for a cutting-edge event to attend next year, I can’t say enough good things about WorkHuman. Next year’s conference will be held March 18-21, 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee. Use the discount code WH19INF-FOX to get $100 off registration. Look forward to seeing you there!
Image captured by Sharlyn Lauby while experiencing the thrill of her lifetime in North Carolina
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