HR Bodies of Knowledge; #2 – “Workforce Planning & Employment”

“…it’s US, stupid!”

It’s the people, stupid. Companies need the peeps. Not only is it HR’s job to find the right people, we have to make sure we (and, more realistically, others) are finding these folks in a legal manner. We have to assess and identify talent, predict the needs of the business, and plan for the future. Ideally, we are assisting leaders in the organization with the process of on-boarding, developing, rewarding, managing, and, when needed, exiting the employee from the organization.

For many HR professionals, it’s the true joy of their function. Granted, some of it remains administrative – job descriptions (stick me in the eyes with needles), posting requirements, resume screening, and new hire orientation+paperwork (if you missed my eyes with the first set of needles, grab a newer, longer set), but it is a chance to truly align a strategic plan with the business. It’s our “raison d’etre” (that’s right, I’m throwing French). Considering our heritage, Workforce Planning & Employment is our grown-up term for “Personnel.” This is the reason the “real” business decided we were needed. We’re HUMAN resources, remember? So obviously, this is the most important function of the HR employee, regardless of level, title, or scope of influence.  But, if you’re planning to test for HRCI certification, what importance does the test place on this category?

For the PHR, 24% of the questions will deal with Workforce Planning and Employment, for the SPHR, 17%  – this is compared to respective 11% and 30% weighting for the Strategic Business Management BOK.[subject to change at any time, reference www.hrci.org]. HR Hardball’ers might respond in some confused, snarkish manner ~ how can Workforce Planning & Employment be the 3rd most weighted BOK for the SPHR (after Strategic Business Mgmt and HR Development)? Aren’t people the most important asset of the company? Hmmmm? HMMMMMM?

This is an awareness issue with Human Resources ~ there is no other area like Workforce Planning & Employment: the HR professional comes into contact with the current (and former, AND future) employee; instructs the leadership of the company on legalities and requirements; creates reward and recognition programs: serves as the gateway and the exit door for the human element that makes a company go. THIS is our area of Strategy. Do it right, then do it better.

The SPHR certification stresses “Strategic Management” knowledge (at almost a 2:1 ratio), as do many HR wonks, to measure the intricate knowledge of business operations & organizational goals. Sorry HR, we ain’t there yet.

Remember, whenever in doubt…it’s the PEOPLE, stupid.

 

John “Whit” Whitaker is Founder and OH (Original Hardballer); like this post? Try this one, this one, or even this one….go ahead, don’t be a weenie.

 

 

 

HR Wormhole – Productivity and Costs, Second Quarter 2012

 

wormhole
“…are you sure this is the right way?”

Productivity and Costs, Second Quarter 2012, Preliminary.

Yes, “Human Capital” has measurements, and the Bureau of Labor is putting them forth…compliments of the Bloomberg Report, this is a fascinating wormhole to explore. Workers are not leaving current jobs voluntarily, and have increased their output without a return investment in development or achievement. On the other side of the coin, those who are unfortunate enough to be out of work are seeing their skills erode.

As explained by Michael Feroli, Chief U.S. Economist with JP Morgan, “human capital [there’s that freaking term again – JW]…is slipping as a significant chunk of the workforce sits idle for weeks or months – more than 40 PERCENT of the unemployed have been without work for a half year or longer.”

So if you’re unemployed, you’re becoming a less valuable commodity. If you’re employed, you’re running faster on the hamster wheel without any additional cheese. Methinks somethings gotta change.

John “Whit” Whitaker is the Founder and Managing Partner of HR Hardball™. And yes, there’s a high geek factor involved in discussing wormholes. To send Mr. Bladerunner an email, or to submit your own thoughts for publishing on this site:

whit@hrhardball.com

blogger@hrhardball.com

Naughty HR (ABC’s 20/20 Sticks It To Us)

Guest Blog! With her permission, I’m running a piece written by Dawn Burke. Dawn is a contributing member to the Fistful of Talent group of….well, I’m not sure what they would call themselves, but they are good people, check ’em out.

Naughty HR (ABC’s 20/20 Sticks It To Us) | Fistful of Talent. So, enjoy the work of Ms. Burke:

Did you guys see the ABC 20/20 expose’ “True Confessions”.  HR was ousted again as cutthroat, law-breaking ninnies; corporate hell at its very best (or worse). HR is the Lindsay Lohan of the office, once again in trouble and really not very sorry for being in trouble.  The Ebenezer Scrooge, the Mr. Grinch, the Bad Santa of cubeland.

hr-devilCindy Shapiro, former HR pro, wrote a new book “Corporate Confidential,” which tattles in a big way on the corporate HR bully.  Such an intriguing topic that ABC has lumped HR with the likes of naughty waiters (can you say “special sauce”), snarky retail sales clerks and porn stars.  Whistle-blower Cindy tells stories of HR’s dirty ways of finding loopholes in the law to lay-off top performers, equating taking too much vacation time with slacking (aka an excuse to fire), treating ugly people and beautiful people poorly, and weeding out pregnant candidates from job opportunities.  One victim in the piece said simply, “The worst thing is that HR was not there to help me, but to help Citibank”.

Second verse same as the first…we’ve heard this all before.  Cliché HR doing cliché things.  But I was glued to the piece.  The reasons clichés are clichés is because there are some patterns of evident truths.  Frankly, the tactics described in the piece on pregnant job candidates made me wince.  Why?

I don’t doubt some employers do these things.  I am fortunate to work for a company culture where policies and practices are typically employee-centric.  My current employer, Daxko, doesn’t even call employees “employees”.  All here are called team members.  No company I’ve worked for discriminated against pregnant women.  Several were hired when they were pregnant, in another case a new job was actually held until a new mother had her baby, and personally in my time at Daxko, three of my team members have been pregnant a total of four times.  We’re all totally down with it.

When I watched the piece, however, one big thing that came to mind was in many cases HR cleans up the mess of poor management.  Do you really think HR said “hell yea, I think you should weed out pregnant ladies”, or “I think it is very smart to fire people for taking off too much vacation time”.  HR pros I know are usually asked to practice naughty things because of a bad directive, an old-school executive team or a poor decision that has already been made by a poor manager.  The piece did elude to this….but not enough.  HR as corporate janitor.  Cleaning up messes after it is too late to do anything about them.  Where HR is failing is fighting harder or even having the courage to quit working for companies who practice these things.  Difficult for sure, I know.

Here are a few other things that this piece did bring to my mind:

  •  Women are still getting the short end of the stick in corporate America.  We’ve come a long way baby and sisters are doin’ it for themselves, but we’ve only completed 13.1; men have completed the 26.2.
  • HR press is typically negative.
  • Some HR pros are sick of doing the wrong thing and willing to say so in a very public way.
  • I wonder if Cindy should be investigated for perhaps engaging in these naughty HR behaviors.  Who knows?  (Not trying to be a trouble maker but did think it).

I don’t know Cindy Shapiro.  Maybe she is a nut, maybe she had a bone to pick, and maybe she made the whole thing up.  But I’m surprised this book didn’t come out sooner frankly.  I hate you wrote this book before me.

John “Whit” Whitaker is Founder and OH (Original Hardballer); like this post? Try this one, this one, or even this one….go ahead, don’t be a weenie.

 

 

 

HR Technical Expertise; HR Hardball

Last week, a breakdown of the new competency model (specifically, the FIRST competency); then a vacation. Now, a summation:

Can we talk? This seems to be an exercise in word-whipping. The definition for this competency reads like an over-ambitious resume’. And like an over-ambitious resume, there’s a propensity to use a $5 word where a nickel might suffice. I’d like to interview this candidate:

Me: “So, Mr. HRTE, tell me more about Strategic Business Management as it relates to Human Resources.”

HR: “It means to align and manage the strategic piece of business management utilizing workforce planning and change management techniques to create better planning processes.”

Me: “What the hell does that mean?”

HR: “Well, it means we predict where our people needs are in the immediate and long-term, be proactive to prepare for changes.”

Me: “So why not just say that in the first place? Quit word-whipping me man.”

HR-interview-hardball
“…and you are?”

The HR Generalist needs to understand potential exposure for their internal clients; he needs to understand the laws, rules, and regulations that impact the employee base. Be approachable, be credible, be humble, and call the job what it IS – “SUPPORT.”

Instead of making our jobs sound more technical, more complicated, more “important,” let’s focus on being a valuable resource.

John “Whit” Whitaker is Founder and OH (Original Hardballer); like this post? Try this one, this one, or even this one….go ahead, don’t be a weenie.

 

Part 5 – SHRM Executive Level Proficiency Standards

This is the fifth installment of a riveting read…the original entry set the stage for a complete review of the newly released SHRM HR Competency Model, “Elements for HR Success.” “Hardball™” comments in italic red. 

ivory-tower-HR-human-resources
it’s an Ivory Tower, get it?

These are your SVP, Sr. Director, VP, CHRO people. Remember, this is just the entry fee for membership. Competency ONE of eight.

  • “Human Resources Technical Expertise & Practice,” for the Mid-Level Practitioner*“The ability to apply the principles and practices of human resource management to contribute to the success of the business.“Sub-competencies include: Strategic Business Management, Workforce Planning and Employment, Human Resource Development, Compensation & Benefits, Risk Management, Employee Labor & Relations, HR Technology, Global & International Human Resource Capabilities, Talent Management, and Change Management.

Executive level HR competencies include:

  • Establish criteria for compliance responsibilities
  • Assumes responsibility for HR and business outcomes What the what? Business outcomes? Interesting.
  • Educates and advises executive team on strategic HR issues as a factor in decision-making; “Educates…advises”…still nothing stronger than persuasive ability. 
  • Applies broad-based HR knowledge to business needs in a proactive manner
  • Ensures alignment of HR policies and procedures with organization values and goals
  • Influences direction and creates a vision for the HR team; Do you see it again? “Influences…” COME ON man.
  • Assesses business situations and develops strategies to improve organizational performance; Sounds great, but I’m going to need to see some actual proof of this
  • Designs proactive strategic initiatives; Sorry to harp on this, but “designs” isn’t the same as “executes, implements, gets sh*t DONE”
  • Evaluates strategic position in relation to internal and external forces; Sounds like an order given to the bridge…”Commander, what are the internal and external forces? Report!”
  • Provides vision for achieving mission objectives through human capital strategy; People who know me should expect a comment here on “human capital.” That term needs to be killed and buried.

I hate writing these posts, I really do….bullet pointed lists are boring. There is, however, a method to my madness. I think this collection of proficiency standards that encompass the “Human Resource Technical Expertise and Practice” (i.e., your ante to sit at the table) shows a disconnect in the self-awareness of the HR expertise involved in establishing the model.

More to come on this particular argument, but suffice to say we’re just getting warmed up.

John “Whit” Whitaker is the Founder and Managing Partner of HR Hardball™. To send “Mr. Red-Italic-Guy” an email or to submit your own thoughts for publishing on this site:

whit@hrhardball.com

blogger@hrhardball.com

(* Executive Level ~ 15+ years HR experience; senior leader in HR organization)

Part 4 – Senior-Level Proficiency Standards

This is the fourth level of the first HR competency…the original entry set the stage for a complete review of the newly released SHRM HR Competency Model, “Elements for HR Success.” I’m pretty sure I’ve already eliminated myself from being spokesmodel for any of the experience levels…are you guys doing all this? Anyhoo, here’s the Senior-level* expectations.  “Hardball™” comments in italic red.

This is where HR people start getting fat paychecks and chickens*t attitudes ~ not all, but most ….

chicken-HR-SHRM
“I’m feeling especially plucky today.”
  • “Human Resources Technical Expertise & Practice,” “The ability to apply the principles and practices of human resource management to contribute to the success of the business. Sub-competencies include: Strategic Business Management, Workforce Planning and Employment, Human Resource Development, Compensation & Benefits, Risk Management, Employee Labor & Relations, HR Technology, Global & International Human Resource Capabilities, Talent Management, and Change Management.

Now you’re in charge – please don’t be a weenie:

  • Provides expertise to support staff development
  • Implements HR operational strategy
  • Partners with executive-level staff throughout the organization to get input on HR decisions; not to judge, but this sounds like a fancy way of saying “takes a vote before making any decision that might have to own.”
  • Ensures the delivery of high-quality HR processes; that just sounds way too “HR-ish”
  • Mentors HR professionals and others within the organization; teach them well, you are either raising rabbits or wolves….we already have our quota on rabbits
  • Analyzes functional programs
  • Develops policies and procedures consistent with organizational values and goals
  • Assesses compliance risks
  • Recommends HR technology
  • Recommends methods for integration of HR services w/organizational initiatives; you know what it is? It’s that “recommends” word – there’s nothing to it. It’s like saying, “considers” or “compares.” How about “OWNS”?
  • Evaluates potential issues or service needs and operationalizes strategic response; wow, that kind of makes us sound like bad-asses

This is where I obviously start grinding the ax. Too often, “Senior” level HR professionals lose the fire in the belly needed to enact real change in the organization. Fat salary, no real metrics for performance, keepers of the secrets, these folks start becoming part of the problem if they start enjoying their job security. Don’t be one of those, you give us all a bad name.

John “Whit” Whitaker is Founder and OH (Original Hardballer); like this post? Try this one, this one, or even this one….go ahead, don’t be a weenie.

 

 

Part 3 – SHRM Mid-Level Proficiency Standards

This is the third installment of a riveting read…the original entry set the stage for a complete review of the newly released SHRM HR Competency Model, “Elements for HR Success.” I jest, but this really is an impressive study. “Hardball™” comments in italic red.

Okay all you people who made it past the entry-level stage….

career-human-resources
“…really, you do NOT need to hold the ladder.”
  • “Human Resources Technical Expertise & Practice,” for the Mid-Level Practitioner*“The ability to apply the principles and practices of human resource management to contribute to the success of the business.
  • “Sub-competencies include: Strategic Business Management, Workforce Planning and Employment, Human Resource Development, Compensation & Benefits, Risk Management, Employee Labor & Relations, HR Technology, Global & International Human Resource Capabilities, Talent Management, and Change Management.

Now we’re getting into some of the nitty-gritty; chances are, the majority of HR people you encounter will fall into this category:

  • Serves as the HR SME to managers
  • Conducts investigations of workplace policy violations
  • Manages day-t0-day HR functions
  • Implements change based on proven change-management techniques at the risk of being rude, I’m calling bullish*t on this one. “Proven change management techniques?” Would love to see the expressions on faces when asked to list them.
  • Applies compliance knowledge to protect the organization
  • Interprets both policies and changes to policy “interprets” is a scary word when used in this context
  • Oversees Risk Management issues obviously more prevalent in manufacturing environments
  • Implements HR Technology plans 
  • Reports trends to senior leadership this intrigues me;an example of the “what” not being as important as the “how” and the “when”
  • Recommends policy changes to support business needs have you done this? I need examples here.

You ain’t seen nothin’ yet ~ tomorrow we get into the “Senior” level HR professionals. Better have a pen and paper, if nothing else you could write down great stuff for your annual review!

John “Whit” Whitaker is Founder and OH (Original Hardballer); like this post? Try this one, this one, or even this one….go ahead, don’t be a weenie.

 

(* Mid-Level ~ 3-7 years HR experience; senior specialist or experienced generalist, manages projects, could be manager)

Part 2 – SHRM Entry Level Proficiency Standards

This is the second installment of a riveting read…yesterday’s entry set the stage for a complete review of the newly released SHRM HR Competency Model, “Elements for HR Success.” There are people (I know, because I’ve met them) who enjoy this sort of exercise, and I can certainly appreciate the effort expended on this exercise, but I think it also may illustrate the continuing breadth of expectations within Human Resources. “Hardball™” comments in italic red.

Anyhoo….

  • Day 2 – “Human Resources Technical Expertise & Practice,” for the Entry-level Practitioner*“The ability to apply the principles and practices of human resource management to contribute to the success of the business.
  • “Sub-competencies include: Strategic Business Management, Workforce Planning and Employment, Human Resource Development, Compensation & Benefits, Risk Management, Employee Labor & Relations, HR Technology, Global & International Human Resource Capabilities, Talent Management, and Change Management.

How in the world does an Entry-level HR professional hit the mark on big-boy items like this? According to SHRM there are ample opportunities to contribute, even in an entry-level position:

  • Identify ways to improve operational efficiency
  • Route stakeholder questions to the appropriate area
  • Uses judgment to determine when to consult with higher-level management
  • Provides services to stakeholders
  • Generates and implements (where appropriate) solutions within areas of responsibility; hey folks, this sounds like it might actually take some brains and effort!
  • Employs SOP’s and policies when performing HR transactions; we’re on a roll!
  • Reports workplace risk management issues to leadership
  • Develops knowledge of general HR practices and technology; okay, another HR-ish behavior, that makes THREE!
  • Executes transactions with minimal errors
  • Follows relevant laws and regulations
  • Works under general direction of a more experienced HR professional; everyone’s nightmare (hehehe, I’m here all week)
  • Uses relevant HR technology for admin and service needs
  • Demonstrates a willingness to learn; well, as long as they’re “willing”

Obviously, the entry-level HR professional greatly resembles an administrative assistant. These behaviors are not going to make a significant impact on the HR organization, but they do give a barometer for management to use for “newbies.”

John “Whit” Whitaker is Founder and OH (Original Hardballer); like this post? Try this one, this one, or even this one….go ahead, don’t be a weenie.

 

SHRM HR Competency Model

The behemoth has been released from it’s cage! 🙂 SHRM has released the new “Elements for HR Success” as the new guideposts for HR professionals; entry-level, mid-level, senior-level, executive-level, there’s something for us all.  It’s unbelievably detailed, thorough, and overwhelming.

  • Day 1 of the Competency Model Review – Competency 1, “Human Resources Technical Expertise & Practice”

“The ability to apply the principles and practices of human resource management to contribute to the success of the business.”

Sub-competencies include: Strategic Business Management, Workforce Planning and Employment, Human Resource Development, Compensation & Benefits, Risk Management, Employee Labor & Relations, HR Technology, Global & International Human Resource Capabilities, Talent Management, and Change Management.

Now, how does one do all of this?

SHRM-competency
“…once upon a time in HR…”

– Remain current on laws, rulings, and regulations

– Maintains up-to-date knowledge of critical human resource functions, including: Strategic Business Management, Workforce Planning & Employment, Human Resource Development, Compensation and Benefits, Risk Management, Employee and Labor Relations, HR Technology, and Global International HR

– Prioritizes work duties for maximum efficiency

– Develop and utilize best practices

– Delivers customized human resource solutions for organizational challenges

– Seeks professional HR development

– Seeks process improvement through numerous resources

– Utilizes core business and HR-specific technologies to solve business challenges

Now, that’s a hell of a lot to swallow for anyone, but for our benefit SHRM has included standards of proficiency for each level of the profession. The expectation is that these “basic” components of HR knowledge be the standard for technical competence in Human Resources. Next installment, “Entry Level Proficiency Standards.”

John “Whit” Whitaker is Founder and OH (Original Hardballer); like this post? Try this one, this one, or even this one….go ahead, don’t be a weenie.

 

A Career in Human Resources

human-resources-career
“…one day I’ll do Engagement Surveys…”

Listed as one of the “must haves” in SHRM circles this week is a short primer catalog for high school students interested in a career within Human Resources.

I think this is a mindset that must immediately change for the benefit of Human Resources in the long-term. First, I’ve yet to encounter anyone under the age of 20 who would consider HR as a career…but, most importantly, I’m a big believer in Operational experience.

Pragmatically, it makes sense to have a varied array of skill sets and experiences for the inevitable market fluctuations. It was estimated by SHRM in 2011 that almost 10% of the entire HR population had lost their jobs in 2011. That’s 40K+ individuals flooding the job market looking for positions that are in many ways being re-tooled.

The movement from Generalist to Specialist is continuing a trend, as SME’s in Comp & Benefits are gaining prestige within the HR community. Consultants are a huge component of the marketplace now, as 6/12/18 month projects become more common & financially desirable in the immediate future. PEO’s (Professional Employment Organizations) and AOS (Administrative Outsourcing Services) have become bigger players in the transactional duties of Human Resources.

What does it all mean to Johnny Q. Public, sitting in college dreaming of a career in Human Resources? To me, it means diversify ~ focus on the SKILLS rather than the job. If the skills are transferable to a career in HR, by all means take the opportunity to gain the experience OUTSIDE of HR. You can’t learn perspective, you have to experience it.

The new Global HR Competency Model was recently launched ~ the make-up of the list of competencies, in my estimation, is a clear signal that the SHRM powers-that-be have recognized the changing needs of Human Resources. In the coming weeks, we’ll look at the specific competency model and the impact it will have on the future of Human Resources.

John “Whit” Whitaker is Founder and OH (Original Hardballer); like this post? Try this one, this one, or even this one….go ahead, don’t be a weenie.