Monday, February 22, 2010

HR, Get Your Bass Guitar and Leather Pants!

Why, because we are going to be ROCK STARS!

I feel a shift in the usual HR conversations going on in the media and Social Medialand. We have all heard the endless rants about HR not being value added, whining about a seat at the strategic table, and the infamous Fast Company article, "Why We Hate HR."

Post recession, I feel a different tone and a different conversation. Sure we are not Rock Stars yet, but I think we are poised with guitars in hand.

I read about HR really getting serious about "Pay for Performance" "HR Metrics" and 'Workforce Planning." These are areas that HR really needed to be on top of during this recession and even beyond. Some HR professionals were definitely better than others, but at least we are focusing on the right things.

I read a very interesting article over the weekend in HR Magazine, January 2010 issue. This magazine definitely has a vested interest in HR's success, but the points were good ones. Adrienne Fox discussed HR's new paradigm for future HR leaders:
1) Anticipating future workforce needs
2) Sourcing talent globally
3) Finding the right mix of contract and regular full and part time employees

I didn't read one thing about planning parties, or making sure paychecks are correct. Thank goodness. Those 3 areas above are some really value added areas that can really move companies forward. (Get your lighters ready for HR's encore in a few years!)

The article went on to discuss 3 different types of organizational scenarios that will unfold and how HR can add value to each:
1) A metrics focused company -makes decision based on data
2) A growth focused company-needs recruitment and retention strategies
3) A project based company -needs a true talent management process

This screams opportunity for HR and I believe the recession has forced those individuals that want to stay in HR to think differently about their roles and education. I back that up by evidence of the individuals that are continuing their education or getting certifications to assist them in obtaining the skills discussed above.

I am very excited that I see these "rock stars in training" on a personal level as I teach for 2 Universities and SHRM-Atlanta here in Atlanta. The caliber of HR professional that are returning to the classroom is different. I see MBA's, many with various undergraduate degrees, many from different functions (i.e. operations, marketing), but they all want to be better HR professionals.

Fox, states in her article that, "The HR professional who can produce data in terms the CEO and CFO can understand will become the most important person in HR in the future." I believe this is something that HR can and will do.

I am hoping this means we can finally STOP talking about that TABLE and make sure our guitars are in tune!

What are your thoughts are we ROCK STARS in training or are we stuck in the same old paradigm?


Rita said...


Another great blog! I admire your dedication to the profession - reading HR magazine over the weekend! You go girl!

Unknown said...

Thanks Rita!!

Chris Young said...

Cathy - I'm ready for the rock show! I love your post and have featured it in my weekly Rainmaker 'Fab Five' blog picks of the week (found here: to share your thoughts with my readers.

Be well!

Unknown said...

Thanks Chris I appreciate that. I see I am in really good company there. Thanks for reading, have a good week!!!

Anonymous said...

I'm a fan cathy! What 1 or 2 metrics do you think is most valuable to check daily and have in our back pocket?

Unknown said...

Thanks DK Recruit for reading and being a fan. If you made me choose 1-2 metrics, I would have to go with:

1) Revenue or profit per employee. Some companies are more revenue focused others more profit focused. This measure is critical to not only look at productivity but efficiency.

2) I would have to use a performance metric such as average performance rating or % positive perf rating. We are having to get serious about performance and more importantly paying for performance.

3) If I could have 3, it would be around the efficiency of HR so something like HR expense to total expense.

Thanks for reading!!