I have five solutions for you.
- Kill it. If you are going to outsource HR services and solutions, don’t be coy about it. Do it right. Think about how procurement and finance can help you rethink your approach to the workforce. You might end up with an entirely new model for managing labor in your organization.
- Make your managers do more HR. It’s really fabulous when Human Resources professionals can prevent union organizers from infiltrating your rank and file employee population. It’s awesome when someone can help you with a difficult employee conversation. But that kind of expertise isn’t exclusive to HR — and it’s something that can be taught, or more importantly, purchased as a program or a commodity.
- Change your language. Many companies speak from both sides of their mouths. They tell their workers that lifetime employment is over (like it ever existed) but demand loyalty oaths from employees. You need less and less of Human Resources when you’re honest and direct with your workforce.
- Get your hands dirty. Everyone — from CEOs to your uncle Joe who hasn’t had a job in ten years — thinks they know more about HR than they really know. If you feel that HR is so awful, do a stint in the department and fix it.
- Don’t jump on the HR technology bandwagon. There are a million great solutions out there to help you attract, retain and manage your workforce. The best piece of technology you can acquire is a human being who lets reality speak for itself. Hire HR people who understand the scientific method and believe in the search for truth. Invest in people who can formulate a question, develop a hypothesis, make a prediction, test their hypothesis and analyze the results. These are the people who can tell you whether or not you really need that expensive HR technology solution.
Those are my five suggested ways to fix HR. It’s just the tip of the iceberg, people, and all of those suggestions require additional, critical thinking. One thing is clear to me, though: most of the people who complain about Human Resources or try to sell you on a new model of HR have never done the work themselves.
Except for me, of course.
And I wonder why HR people can’t make the case that the work they do is relevant? Why can’t they innovate and drive change internally to fix whatever is broken?
More on that tomorrow.