Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Selling the Value of HR

I had the awesome opportunity of leading a panel discussion at the 22nd Annual SHRM-Atlanta Conference yesterday.  If you are interested in reading the twitter feed for the conference the hashtag is #shrmatl12.

The panelist included :
 Brandon Conkle, Director of Total Rewards, The Weather Channel; Megan Graham, Vice President of Learning, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta; Dawn Lewis, New Dawn Consulting 
The discussion was centered around "Selling the Value of HR."  We spent a fair amount of time, discussing the following question:
What is the process for how you have received buy in for an HR initiative from your leadership?  What was the initiative?  What data did you need?  Were you competing for resources from other functions in the organization?
I wanted to summarize the answers from the panel for my readers.

1) The panelist all agreed on the concept of crafting a business case for the initiative.  They all agreed it was a great skill set for HR to possess.  The business case needs to include scope, linkage to strategy, stakeholders, timeline, resources needed and metrics for success.  I agree with this point whole-heartedly.

2) The panel also discussed the need for HR to have established credibility.   In order to understand what initiatives are needed for the organizational strategy to succeed, HR must know what is important to the business leaders.  The panelist began to discuss the importance of building relationships in the organization so that all functions understand how HR can drive business results for the organization.

3) Finally, examples were given in areas of training, employee engagement and rewards and recognition initiatives where ROI is calculated to PROVE value.  HR professionals must get in the practice of measuring impact of our programs.  If not, why bother?

4) The topic of HR metrics were discussed as well.  I loved a comment from Megan Graham, "Some metrics are just about keeping your HR house in order."  So true, but the C-level likes to see the ones that move the dial, or that are pointing directly to the strategic objectives to the company.  Those are the metrics they want to see.  The panelist agreed that sometimes the lines from revenue to initiatives are blurred but if you try hard the connections can be made.

I did have the opportunity to ask the panelist if they felt HR had made any progress in the strategic area post recession.  They all agreed that HR has made progress but has a long way to go in the areas discussed above.

The conference closed today.  I I have said many is a great day to be in HR.  We are making progress, and I feel it!

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