Stimulus Package More Than $…HR Changes Too

There have already been countless laundry lists published of the HR tasks generated by the new economic stimulus package. HR departments everywhere are scrambling to make the nuts and bolts changes needed to comply. Rather than focusing solely on the new tasks generated by the stimulus package it may be the perfect time to step back and look at the bigger HR picture and how your HR professionals can make a more significant contribution to the management team. The economic stimulus package is ultimately about jobs and a more viable economy. With so much on the table and at stake this may be the perfect opportunity for an HR stimulus as well.

The urgency of the current economic situation means we must move the conversation forward and make our HR professionals much more than masters of the HR task list. Your Human Resource professionals need to assume a far more critical role, strategic management partner. When the economy is good and things are humming smoothly it is easy to for companies to let HR to fall into the role of compliance cops or worse, the equivalent of the shovel and the dustpan at the end of the parade. HR has much more to offer and they will never face greater tests or have a better opportunity to demonstrate their skills, resources and capacity to be key members of the management team.

Business owners, managers and employees are all stakeholders in the economic recovery and it is time for all hands on deck. The moment has come to strip away the endless TV commentary and politics surrounding the Stimulus Package to focus on the day to day work we all must engage in. HR has long held that they deserve a seat at the management table and in the current business climate HR professionals will have a golden opportunity take a seat and assume a meaningful leadership role. This means you should expect your HR professionals must to forth innovative ideas on effective human capital deployment and employee engagement which will bolster business survivability and success. In short, they must demonstrate the ability to be less transactional and more transformational. Only then will HR become your strategic management partner.

Jason Corsello recently wrote an interesting piece on the Human Capitalist Blog summarizing some key points made by Tod Loofbourrow, Chairman of Authoria, when he spoke recently at the Strategic e-HR Conference. He was talking about HR executives that “get it” and laid out the first three qualities summarized below. Jason added the fourth point. These thought provoking ideas put forth by Tom Loofbourrow’s and Jason Corsello are the perfect jumping off point to begin an HR stimulus conversation.

1. Business acumen. They have a true understanding of their own company, its business, the products and the industry it operates. Too many HR executives don’t even know the products their company sells and at what price or margin.

2. Analytical mindset. They think in numbers not emotions. They leverage data to make decisions and measure their business proactively.

3. Accountability. They are willing to make hard, critical decisions independently and will to put their proverbial “ass on the line”. Accountability also means they have a favorable reputation within the organization and can garner support throughout.

4. They know what they don’t know. This really means they know the right questions to ask and surround themselves with smart people, experts and knowledge.

And I would like to suggest another point for inclusion on the list:

5. They see HR as a fully vested member of the management team. They have a thorough understanding where HR fits in big picture of the management puzzle and understand why HR is vital to the success of the company.

So how do management and HR make such a dramatic shift and change the dynamic of HR as usual? In the next few months we will examine each of the areas on this list and discuss what owners, managers and HR professionals can do to more fully integrate HR into the management team.

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