Can HR Lead the Organisation?

Human Resources, or HR, have been seen to take multiple roles in the organisations. Different groups of people have different understanding of what a HR role entails. Who is HR, and what do they do for the business and for the employees?

The confusion of HR roles started due to HR having roots in administration and personnel management. HR becomes a necessity function where organisations need a specialist to understand employment laws and the complexity of business processes gave birth to management and documentation of personnel files (or p-files for short).

HR slowly evolved; It took on a much bigger role in rules and regulations in the organisation (ie. policy writing) and paying different salaries to different groups/levels of employees (payroll processing and management).

As the business grows, HR needs to take the lead to separate the function into 2 components – mainly the Operational and Strategic HR. HR needs to be allowed to raise its head.

However, line managers don’t see HR as a decision maker. Instead, many still view HR as a support role. Line managers prefer HR to say “YES” to their decisions, which implied alignment to their organisational goals and objectives. They prefer HR who promotes their people-related agenda without questioning.

Competent HR professionals who know their work and take a stance based on fairness, policies and risk mitigation is always shunned. The irony is that many organisations want to hire HR professionals from the best institution with strong experience, but don’t give them space to express and make business decisions.

2017 2H Dividend Update

Total dividends for 2017 2H – S$436.08

Here’s the breakdown:

  1. Nikko AM STI ETF – S$89.88
  2. DBS Group Holdings – S$99
  3. HC Surgical – S$44.10
  4. Keppel Corp – S$40
  5. M1 Limited – S$41.60
  6. OCBC – S$90
  7. Raffles Medical Group – S$16.50
  8. SembCorp Industries – S$15

Goal for 2018: Continue to invest in pharma stocks, and possibly venture into US tech growth stocks. Hopefully to add $30,000 in market cap by December 2018.

HR Transformation starts with 4 questions

[Learnings from Dave Ulrich on HR Transformation]

“Planting a best practice from a previous company into the business.”

“Implementing a new HR system.”

“Change the organisation structure in the business.”

… are the answers you hear when you ask some HR folks what HR transformation means to them. These alone, unfortunately, are not true transformation.

A true HR transformation starts with asking 4 most important question – the why, what, how and who.

WHY are we doing transformation?

HR transformation is done to better respond to a business context. The business context consists of external business realities and stakeholders.

What are the external business realities? Could it be a new regulation (ie. GDPR in Europe), growth or technology? What are the internal consequences of these realities?

Who are the stakeholders? Are they competitors, investors, customers or regulators? How does it affect us?

When we understand the business context, then, it gives us clear direction and a rationale for doing HR transformation.

WHAT do we get from HR transformation?

What does transformation mean to us? Transformation is not what we do, but what we can deliver.

Some people say that a HR transformation happens when the activity we do is now done in a more efficient way. I tend to disagree.

A HR transformation is not just an activity – it is an outcome of the activity, and we must focus on the outcomes.

HR Transformation = Delivering Outcomes

In traditional HR, a HR manager will ask the team the following questions:

  • which schools did we reach out to for recruitment activities?
  • what is the percentage of managers who have not went for the managers’ training?
  • which HR system can manage the performance reviews?

However, in progressive HR, transformation is what we accomplish because of what we did. Some questions asked would include:

  • how would the run rate change when we add 2 sales rep into the APAC region?
  • what are the values we create when we implement a Broadbean recruitment system?

A good recruiter is not measured by how fast he could close a job requisition, but by the quality of the talent (ie. performance, attrition rate). A good sales rep is not measured by the number of companies he visit to pitch or the numbers of calls he made daily, but whether those calls results in increase in business revenue.

HOW do we “do” HR transformation?

When we align with the business strategy and deliver valuable outcomes, then we have succeed in doing HR transformation. How do we align with the business?

We review the current HR structure

Do we have the right structure? Should we have a shared service model?

We review the HR practices

Should we carry out annual performance review? What is our philosophy? What HRIS could allow us to be more efficient in the way we do HR? How do we engage the stakeholders?

We evaluate the HR people

Do we have the right people to perform the role? Do we have the correct skills-set? What are our HR competencies?

WHO does HR transformation?

HR is no longer an administrative role, but a partnering role with the business. The bar has been raised for HR. Do we have the skills to partner the business? Are we still living in the past?

HR transformation is a shared agenda between the business and HR.

Line managers are interested in the change – they are the ones who would receive the outcome of change, and they use these changes to support their business.

Employees and customers are end recipient of the transformation. Are we doing the right thing to keep the right people in the right role? Are we doing true transformation to serve our customers?

2017 1H Dividend Update

Total dividend for 2017 1H – S$610.64

Here’s the breakdown:

  1. Nikko AM STI ETF – S$179.69
  2. DBS Group – S$90
  3. HC Surgical – S$54
  4. Keppel Corp – S$60
  5. Kimly – S$5.60
  6. OCBC – S$90
  7. Raffles Medical – S$49.50
  8. Secura Group – S$3
  9. SembCorp Industries – S$20
  10. Thai Beverage – S$58.85

Huge increment Y-O-Y of 75%. To add in more dividend stocks in August when I receive my bonus!

Building a highly engaged team

Employee engagement has become one of the top most priority in large organisations. Both employees and employers recognised that a highly engaged team can increase productivity, innovation and team performance, while reducing costs of hiring and retention.

In a survey done by Harvard Business Review, 71% of respondents ranked engagement as very important to achieving organisational success, and 24% of respondents says employees in their organisations are highly engaged.

In The Leadership Gap: Building Leadership Capacity for Competitive Advantage (click here for the book), David Weiss introduced 6 factors that contribute to the engagement of employees and teams. These are:

  1. Being part of a winning organisation
  2. Working for admired leaders
  3. Having positive working relationships
  4. Doing meaningful work
  5. Recognition and appreciation
  6. Living a balanced life

Being part of a winning organisation

Employees can become highly engaged with a winning team, but this does not necessarily mean they will be disengaged if the team is not winning.

Working for admired leaders

This factor was assessed as the number one non-monetary motivator for employees. Employees are more likely to stay in an organisation if their leader is someone they admire, even if they are offered more pay elsewhere. Also, if employees are working for a leader they do not admire, it can become the primary reason why they leave an organisation.

Having positive working relationships

Employees are more engaged when they have positive working relationships with colleagues. This applies to virtual organisation as well — which means that leaders need to find ways to have employees develop positive working relationships, even if the employees do not work together in the same location or rarely have opportunities to meet each other.

Doing meaningful work

Sometimes it is obvious to employees that they are doing meaningful work, but this is not always the case. HR needs to ensure that leaders know how to have a dialogue with employees and teams so that they understand the deeper meaning of what they are doing.

Recognition and appreciation

Recognition and appreciation for work is an important engager for many employees. HR needs to encourage leaders to show recognition and appreciation.

Living a balanced life

Employees need to determine what their own balance needs are between work and personal life. HR should encourage leaders to respect their employees’ balance needs as long as they can be accommodated and do not interfere with work performance.

HR Transformation – Value driven HR

In the past, HR looked at how many HR professionals it has in relation to the number of employees within the organisation. A good ratio of 1:90 was the golden ratio for many years. However with the introduction of HR shared services model, outsourcing model and the deployment of smart HR systems, HR is now able to deliver better service with lesser HR professionals.

Currently, HR needs to transform in a way to deliver better value to the organisation. It is no longer seen as a function that deliver transactional activity to it’s employees. In order for HR to deliver value with lesser HR professionals, people managers need to be effective to manage and take more responsibility in employees’ issues.

Transformation of managers to become people managers

In many large multinational companies, the role of HR is to drive values through the people managers. One of the main focus is to guide, advise, and develop managers to help them create a conducive environment of a best practice organisation. HR’s change in focus from personnel management to talent management (such as staffing, succession planning, leadership development) allows HR to contribute to the managers’ success as people managers. HR needs to ensure that, at all levels, managers are effective at delivering value to the business.

Transformation of employees to become self-reliant

The traditional “hand-holding” of HR professionals are over! HR systems have replaced these hand-holding duties, relieving HR professionals to deliver more value to the organisation. Employee self-service is now very common in large organisations — through intranet portals, learning management systems, and other platforms and devices. Employees no longer seek HR professionals for policy advisory. With a few clicks on the button, employees are now able to retrieve self-service information 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Traditional HR roles such as recruiting and employee relations are necessary but not enough to help organisations thrive in this competitive world. If these are HR’s only focus, the organisation will miss out on the greater value that HR can potentially deliver. HR must go beyond the traditional way of doing work, investigate the current practice and transform in order to deliver value.

Career progression through performance or educational qualifications?

It was reported in the news (refer here) that the civil service have ceased describing its public officers by their division status in their policies. Before 2017, officers were described based on their division status. For instance, graduate officers are categorised as Division I officers, diploma officers are categorised as Division II officers, and so on.

I believe that this is a good start. This would put less pressure on the students, where they could focus on their soft skills and competencies rather than chasing the paper qualification. However, to many people, this claim of a move towards equality is difficult to believe.

For a start, the government should release statistics of the numbers of non-graduate hires they recruited, as well as the number of promotions and proportion of increments these officers receive on a yearly basis.

Maximising Success in Onboarding

After sourcing and hiring the right talents, one of the most crucial ways companies can improve the effectiveness of their talent management is through the use of strategic onboarding. Onboarding is the process to help new hires adjust to the social and performance aspects of their new role smoothly and efficiently.

Research and conventional wisdom suggest that new hires get roughly 90 days to prove themselves in a new role.  Hence, according to a HR survey carried out in 2014, new employees usually care more about mentoring and on-the-job training than perks like free snacks and buffet during the onboarding process. They want an onboarding process that helps them reduce learning curve and be able to contribute to their wider team as soon as possible.

Some people might think that HR managers are most responsible for new hire onboarding. This is however untrue. Employees feel that their managers have the greatest influence on whether orientation programs are effective or not. Hiring managers are very much responsible for OTJ training as well as social activities that could last as long as 30 days into a new role.

How is your company conducting new hire onboarding? Are there new hire programs that assist new hires in adjusting to their new role in terms of tasks and socialisation?