Reflections on HR’s Impact on the Business

HR leaders are not only in tune with workforce challenges, but they are knowledgeable, creative, and agile at providing solutions that can really effectively impact an organization’s performance.

I am just back from a great GDS HR Summit in Denver and am still reflecting on how HR leaders impact their organizations through Collaborating, Creativity, and Culture, which was, by the way, the theme of the Summit. shutterstock_404611885

HR leaders from a wide variety of large global organizations attended this Summit. And, through personal conversations with these leaders, through leading a roundtable discussion, and through the many workshops, I really got a sense of the challenges experienced by HR and the many different approaches to solving these challenges.

One challenge that was seen as overarching and impacting other challenges is individualization.  With the rapid changes in organizations and the complexity of workforce dynamics, it is no longer sufficient to develop a “one size fits all” program, such as a rewards and recognition program or a career and development program. HR leaders are charged with developing effective programs to drive employee performance at all levels, in all locations.  As an example, mentoring and coaching is one way in which organizations address individualization and impact employee performance.

Another challenge is managing a multi-generational workforce, where many from the younger or millennial generation seek rapid promotions and increased recognition and some from the older generations value stability, experience, and structure. As one can imagine, conflicts arise in this situation. While there is no one solution, providing an engaging culture, being flexible, and educating leadership on these issues can help to resolve some of the difficulties in managing this workforce.

An issue brought up during a personal conversation is leaders who have excellent product/service knowledge, but who really do not understand what it is like to work as an individual contributor for the organization, nor do they understand why it is necessary to support contributors with learning and development programs. The reason was attributed to having leaders placed in high-level positions without having to work up the ladder and experience the problems encountered by employees.  One solution, expressed during a workshop, is to develop a program during onboarding where the new executives are rotated through a variety of situations at the organization, including call centers and sales calls.

Attrition is a challenge experienced by most organizations. And some from my roundtable feel it is society’s own making for the following reasons: benefit portability or “taking off the shackles,” social networking and the ease of finding new positions, and layoffs being considered a normal employee career path experience. One of the solutions offered was to create a strong engaging culture and a strong connection to employees, so that when valued employees leave the organization, they will still be a brand ambassador, refer talent for employment at the organization, and hopefully return to the organization at a later date with new-found skills.  I particularly liked one organization’s value statement: “This is always your home.”

As you can tell by the variety of challenges – and I have not named them all — and the solutions implemented, HR Leaders are not only in tune with workforce challenges, but they are knowledgeable, creative, and agile at providing solutions that can really effectively impact an organization’s performance.  Hats off to HR Leaders.

Daria Friedman, Principal Analyst, Talent Acquisition, Brandon Hall Group

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Mike Cooke

Chief Executive Officer of Brandon Hall Group Mike Cooke Prior to joining Brandon Hall Group, Mike Cooke was the Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of AC Growth. Mike held leadership and executive positions for the majority of his career, at which he was responsible for steering sales and marketing teams to drive results and profitability. His background includes more than 15 years of experience in sales, marketing, management, and operations in the research, consulting, software and technology industries. Mike has extensive experience in sales, marketing and management having worked for several early high-growth emerging businesses and has implemented technology systems to support various critical sales, finance, marketing and client service functions. He is especially skilled in organizing the sales and service strategy to fully support a company’s growth strategy. The concept of growth was an absolute to Mike and a motivator in starting AC Growth, in order to help organizations achieve research driven results. Most recently, Mike was the VP and General Manager of Field Operations at Bersin & Associates, a global analyst and consulting services firm focused on all areas of enterprise learning, talent management and talent acquisition. Tasked with leading the company’s global expansion, Mike led all sales operations worldwide. During Mike’s tenure, the company has grown into a multi-national firm, conducting business in over 45 countries with over 4,500 multi-national organizations. Mike started his career at MicroVideo Learning Systems in 1992, eventually holding a senior management position and leading all corporate sales before founding Dynamic Minds. Mike was CEO and Co-Founder of Dynamic Minds, a custom developer of software programs, working with clients like Goldman Sachs, Prentice Hall, McGraw Hill and Merrill Lynch. Also, Mike worked for Oddcast, a leading provider of customer experience and marketing solutions, where he held a senior management position leading the company into new markets across various industries. Mike also serves on the Advisory Board for Carbon Solutions America, an independent sustainability consulting and carbon management firm that specializes in the design and implementation of greenhouse reduction and sustainability plans as well as managing the generation of carbon and renewal energy and energy efficiency credits. Mike attended University of Phoenix, studying Business Administration and Finance. He has also completed executive training at the Chicago Graduate School of Business in Chicago, IL.