Monday, November 26, 2012

The New HR Competencies

This past summer at the SHRM National Conference, hosted in my fair city of Atlanta, GA, the new HR Competencies were announced.

I personally had been waiting on these for awhile as I remember participating in the research for the project.

Here are the 9 competencies as determined by SHRM:

1) Technical HR Knowledge (like comp, talent management, recruiting, etc.)
2) Ethical Practice
3) Impactful Communication
4) Consultation
5) Critical Evaluation
6) Global and Cultural Effectiveness
7) Relationship Management
8) Organizational Leadership and Navigation
9) Business Acumen

I was very happy to see that "Critical Evaluation" made the list because I have felt that a competency that included measurement and analytics had been sorely lacking in other models.

I LOVE Organizational Leadership and Navigation as I believe that is what HR people are supposed to be doing.  Here is the formal definition:

The ability to lead or maneuver initiatives and processes within the organization with great agility.  
I think the "with great agility" is the part we as HR professionals need to concentrate on.  The ability of HR professionals to ebb and flow with the business is key.

The rest of the list I had pretty much seen no big surprises there.

What do you think about the new list?  Any competency missing?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Why Can't We Fill Open Jobs?

After watching my Atlanta Falcons lose their first game this season on Sunday, I watched an interesting segment on 60 Minutes.  (click the link and you can watch the segment) One of the stories discussed was the fact that in the US we have approximately 3 million jobs available.  If you talk to anyone that has been half awake these last few years, you hear how high the unemployment rate is and how there are no jobs to be found.

That is simply not the case.

After talking with my colleagues Ed Nangle and Charlette Stout about the program, we determined you have to look at the situation from two perspectives.  One is that, yes there is job loss due to the economy but there is ALSO a talent shortage.

In the 60 Minutes piece, a manager in a manufacturing plant was interviewed about not being able to find good quality technical talent.  He said young people are coming out of schools WITHOUT the basics of grammar, spelling, math and problem solving skills.  This particular company's solution was to partner with the local technical college on curriculum and train the individuals that had been pre-tested for aptitude.  In other words they are "growing their own."

I will argue that our skills problem in this country is bigger than our jobs problem at this point.

Being in education part-time myself, I understand some of the many issues about delivering what businesses need in terms of skill sets.  I wish I knew the answer to whose job is it to prepare individuals to be job ready.  According to many, it's parents and the educational system, not the job of corporate America.

I believe this issue of talent will be critical in the next few years as Boomers will be retiring in droves.  The newer generations just don't have enough people to fill the slots.  The math just isn't there.

So if PEOPLE are truly your competitive advantage what are savvy HR leaders to do?
  • I like the idea of the manufacturing firm that partnered with higher education to customize curriculum, that guarantees the skills you need will be taught.  I have seen that first hand at Kennesaw State College where they partner with WellStar to develop content for Billing coders and nurse techs.  
  • HR leaders need to look at the workforce data and project supply and demand of talent for at least the next five years.  Create an action plan based on the data on how talent will be sourced and trained.
  • KEEP the talent you have.  It's too hard and expensive to replace it.  
  • Analyze the work that needs to be done and the way it CAN be done.  Can you use part-timers, can you use job sharing?  Get creative.
  • What is your organization's training philosophy?  Is it used as an attraction and retention tool?  It may be cheaper to train versus hiring a replacement.
  • Can you offer a benefit your competitors do not, like offering healthcare to part-timers.  (understanding healthcare is changing as we speak)
What else should be considered?  How can we prepare ourselves for the looming talent shortage?

Monday, November 5, 2012

Leadership and the Government Sector

This recession has created a lot of interesting lessons.  There are many stories of leadership successes and leadership failures.  This is how we learn and teach others.  Just prior to the recession our firm began to receive a lot of governmental contract opportunities.  They were projects that were so interesting as the organizations typically wanted to move from an organization of entitlement to one that is a High Performing Organization.

I have been thinking a lot about this, given it's now the day before our Presidential election.

Yes, you heard right a government that has a goal of high performance particularly in the customer service arena.  Governments are now being faced with issues like:
  • decreasing revenues
  • customers having a choice (where to live and where to start a business)
  • doing more with less
  • customers having high expectations
What do those issues sound like?  The issues that have plagued the private sector for years but are just now becoming critical to the government sector due to the economic conditions in this country.

I have seen some governments with strong leadership teams that embrace this challenge and take it on head first and move the "big ship" in the right direction.  One of our local governments here in Atlanta has a very small but engaged leadership team that have done things like vision-based budgeting and strategic mapping to align the City's vision with EVERYTHING that is done in that city.  Simply brilliant, yet they are the exception in our experience.  Another example is a government entity near our nation's capital that embarked on becoming high performing BEFORE the recession because the leadership there saw the writing on the wall.  

It's a difficult transition moving to a culture of high performance.  Becoming high performing means having to make difficult decisions about staff, resources, budgets, etc.  High performing means that you have to make sure you keep the people that perform and you get rid of the people that don't perform.  This philosophy must come from the top down and HR must embrace and model this philosophy.  Gone are the days in private and in government where mediocrity or incompetence can be ignored or not dealt with.

I think we will look back in 20 years and say, "the recession of 2007 is what changed the way government operates."  I definitely see "change brewing" in this sector and as a consultant, a citizen and most importantly a tax-payer, I am very glad.

Friday, November 2, 2012

How to Create a Great HR Data Story

I had the pleasure of writing an article for the HR Examiner on "How to Create a Great HR Data Story.  Check it out here...