Monday, June 1, 2009

Hey HR...Please No More TABLE Talk

I have been to several events over the last month geared towards HR professionals. At each event the inevitable is brought up....that illustrious strategic table and why HR has received a seat or why HR does not have a seat.

I think we need to stop discussing the table and just get on with executing value added work for our organizations. If you are delivering service that is of value then you do not have to worry about the table, you have earned your right to be there.

We have been discussing this table now for about 10-12 years. I can remember having this same discussion in 1995 as I was beginning my MBA. Here we are 12 years later and we are still rehashing the same old stuff. That table has been a key topic for many years, but so misunderstood.

The goal is for HR to be strategic, adding value to the organization. The prize for this is to be invited to participate at executive level strategic meetings. The invite is key have to do something to be asked to the party. Now, I believe we have come a long way since 1995, unlike others that write so many unkind articles.

However, I think now is the time for us to shine and not whine.....We have a huge opportunity to assist our companies with getting through the recession, plan for recovery, and to get poised for growth. Now, that sounds like value added work.

What if you are able to identify you most productive and most engaged employees so that you can develop a strategy for retaining those individuals through the hard times? That's valuable

What if you have redesigned your performance management system and compensation structure so that you are only rewarding those that are performing? (Thus saving compensation dollars) That's valuable

What if you analyzed your current benefits packages and were able to save the company 20% and the employees like their new coverages better? That's valuable

What if you were able to identify the 10 behaviors most valued by your customers and designed recruiting, performance, and training tools around those behaviors? That's valuable

If you are able to deliver on cost saving or performance enhancing programs, I don't think you would have to worry about any table ever again...Thoughts?
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Jodie Braner, Pritchard Jerden, Inc. said...

To help you move forward in finalizing that seat, I recommend that you look to your valued consultants and vendors to assist you in delivering return on investment data. Your trusted consultants can help take the leg work for you. If your consultants are not coming to you with new approaches, it is time for a due dilligence review of their value added service. To Your Success!

Sharlyn Lauby said...

Cathy - this post is spot on. We (as a profession) have to quit talking about getting a seat at the table and just get to work providing value for our organizations.

And to piggyback on Jodie's comment, I agree that HR Pros don't have to do it alone. They should tap into their consulting resources to make things happen.

Michael D. Haberman, SPHR said...

Very well said Cathy. The only time I try to use the word "table" these days is in relation to dinner.

Unknown said...

Thanks Sharon and Mike. Love the dinner table comment!!

Michael said...

Every one of us has a seat at the table already. What matters is what you do with it, and whether anyone ever notices you sitting there. It's okay to act as a consigliere, or to be the "power behind the throne".

It's not ok to be a cipher. Go do something and people will feel your elbows bumping them and your elbows nudging them when you are all gathered around the proverbial "table".


Anonymous said...

I totally agree, Cathy! Actions do speak louder than words. We need to take more action and do less talking! If that doesn't work then consider changing organizations.