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Plea for a more collaborative HR

GeneralPosted by Johan Parisse Tue, September 24, 2013 13:25:36

With the higher level of missions complexity requested, Human Resources functions are more and more professional. In addition to traditional functions like hiring, payroll administration, industrial relations and training, organizations had the need to enroll people in charge of compensation strategy, legal issues or organizational design, etc ..

The least we can say is that in numerous companies, these functions are working independently, in silos. Of course bosses of these silos are talking together (each one with an agenda of his own sometimes) in these famous “HR Management board”. But do they “collaborate”? And the people who actually do the job, do they know what people in other part of HR are doing? Most of the time, they don’t. Even worst, they don’t care. The main reason is that they all think that they are different, they are not HR, that they are “Training”, “Legal”, “Recruitment”, … Why? Well, I see 4 reasons to that (and they are probably more):

1° HR has a bad global reputation. In lots of companies, HR is the organization that downsize, restrict salary, announce redundancies, fire people, reject people in the hiring process,.. Training is not good enough or too expensive, career management is never satisfactory enough (except for the happy few) etc.. You never hear about HR when everything is fine. This leads people in these silos to position themselves in opposition to this global image, they are not HR, they are “training”, “comp & ben”, “legal”, ….

2° The second reason I see is that, historically, all these new functions has been added to existing HR function. Just added, not integrated. Like “containers” you just add one over or next to the other. Most of the time it is a part of another entity (i.e. legal or finance) which is removed and transferred to HR with a bitter feeling of the people involved.

3° Another reason is that the individual “purpose” of the different entities looks different. “Training” people will tell you that their purpose is to “improve”, “enhance”, “empower” people. “Legal” people will tell you that they “protect” the company against law suit and eventually bankruptcy. Some claims to be more on the employee side, other more on the company side. Some more focused on “Human” and others on “Resources”. Like a clear frontier between these 2 sides would exists.

4° The final reason is that the profile of people involved in these function are very different. You will find psychologists, economists, mathematicians, lawyers, engineers, etc.. Some also ends their career at HR others were always in HR. This means very different approaches and views on the way “Human” and “Resources” must me be managed. This is of course a wealth but it might also be a cause of mistrust.

However, all these people are working under the label (I would say the flag) “HR” and they intervene in similar topics. Let’s take the “recruitment topic”. Of course, “talent acquisition” team is leading the recruitment actions but it implies a valid “comp & ben “ policy to be sure to attract people. You need “Training” people to propose an suitable “Onboarding program”. You need “Legal” people to propose the right contract. You need “HR administration” for a smooth inclusion of newbies in the payroll and all administrative tasks associated, …

And it goes like that for most of all other core activities of HR.

They are many bad consequences of this situation, HR is less agile, less proactive its image is puzzled, segmented.

HR is a bit like these super ships full of containers piled up, heavy and unreal moving slowly from on position to another with no soul, no shape, and no character.

People, employees are not a superposition of different organs, they are a whole of different expectations that makes them unique. They require to be treated as individual, not as a sum of different pieces taken separately. That’s why HR, as an all, need to answer to their expectations as an all. HR needs to be more collaborative in order to be more efficient regarding the role that the organization and the employee expect of it.

This collaboration starts by better knowing what each entity of HR are doing. What are the challenges of my colleagues in “Legal”, in “training”, in “HR admin”, … The main reason for mistrust is ignorance. The more we understand our colleagues, the more we will collaborate fruitfully and provide more value to employees and to the organization.

This is why I decide to organize a congress for HR people, as an all. Speakers of the Meaningful HR Congress comes from different entities of HR and they will share with you their knowledge and their experience in order to give you the opportunity to better co-operates with colleagues from other HR entities.

More on http://meaningful.be/event/index.html

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To leave my mark

GeneralPosted by Johan Parisse Tue, August 06, 2013 02:50:16

After two decades of exciting work for a major company, I faced reality: nothing will be as thrilling as the challenges I faced during that time. Much stress, much anxiety for sure, but not the kind to propel me forward toward other goals. So, what to do? Move to another big company and do the same thing in another environment? … No thanks.

I tried some introspection exercises (as you know, I am a psychologist, so it comes naturally). I went back to the basics. I asked myself, what did I want to do when I was a child? This thinking brought me to the fact that, in reality, I always wanted to leave my mark on my environment. Not on the planet, not on history, but on people around me, at my scale.

The next step was to choose the field to which I could bring something different. My last job experience, as communications manager for HR corporate management of a worldwide company, brought me a lot of satisfaction. Our department had started with almost nothing and had to create everything it needed. We implemented a revolutionary change in a 150-year-old company: whereas every location around the world had its own communication strategy, we were charged with changing all that and implementing a new, fully-centralized organization.

After defining our objectives, our first priority was to listen to people; we had to understand the past and the present of the company. Then we drove the change to a new way of managing people, using all kinds of media. We did all this while keeping in mind the need to maintain the well-being of the vast majority of the employees. And it worked. We succeeded not by relying on the standard services of a major consulting company selling “ready-to-wear” solutions, but rather by developing our own methodology and our own ideas.

It became clear to me that it was my “cup of tea”. Creativity, inspiration, efficiency and collaboration.

In addition, during that time I was President of the Belgian Association for Work and Organizational Psychology (APTO 2000-2010), and I was running a big project at that time. This project was to organize a “Congress” where all Human Resources experts would meet and better understand each other’s challenges. As HR Communication Manager, I could observe how poorly various departments (HR, Legal, Recruitment, Training, Workforce Planning, etc.) communicated with each other. In fact, sometimes it was even worse, and these departments did not want to communicate with each other at all, assuming they have nothing to share (and not wanting to threaten their image before the company’s employees). HR, as a whole, suffers from a bad image before employees, and it was unlikely to improve that image by claiming that each entity is different from the others.

So, now I have identified my challenge and my chance to leave my mark by finally building the Meaningful HR Congress in Brussels.

More on www.meaningful.be

One word about the picture that illustrates my blog. This picture is a creation of Maud Bekaert. I met Maud few months ago. She presents herself as a letter carver, but in fact she is a true artist. I really love her craft and especially this piece of work, which fascinates me. More here

Leave your mark !!


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