Even though it’s February, it’s still technically the beginning of the year and that means we’re not too terribly far from those great intentions we set not so long ago. While we’re minding (and possibly amending) our lists of New Year’s resolutions, I would like to add one more for the Human Resources crowd: make 2015 a year for solutions, not resolutions.
The time has come for us to be solution-oriented in a much broader sense. If we are ever to rise to the level where top HR management is considered seed talent for the CEO chair, we need to prove our power as consummate business partners.
I believe understanding the opportunities around technological disruptors will propel us into that position. If we can translate their utility and value as a solution to our problems rather than a threat to be worked around, it could mean the difference between more time in the trenches and the light shining our way forward in credibility and stature, particularly when it comes to talent management, informing the company strategy and performance.
Here are some suggestions as to how to embrace disruption as a means to success:
- Get familiar with SMAC – It’s not a common term, but its meaning is everywhere. The impact of social, mobile, analytics, and cloud technologies have changed everything from the way we run our companies to the way we manage our lives. I implore you to get up close and personal as it is the biggest opening to display value. Your knowledge of how these technologies impact your role is a starting point, but the ability to conceptualize how it could solve bigger problems for the company overall is where you move from specialist to consultant.
- Social isn’t just nice, it’s necessary – Social responsibility is no longer optional; Aligning social responsibility by creating partnerships that build brand identity should be part of what we do these days. There are many ways HR can become involved and lead the charge in immensely, powerful ways: inner-city internship programs, minority business mentorship, MBA business incubators, etc. The right connection between internal leadership and non-profit leaders can shine a light on causes close to the corporate heart and create a powerhouse brand. HR should lead the discussion.
- Expand your reading list – Everyone has their favorite sources for HR trade information and news, but try adding a few business publications and trade papers each week. The Economist, Financial Times, SmartBrief, Forbes, The Washington Post – discover your favorites and immerse yourself in the language and features. The greatest ideas and solutions can come from this type of reading, and it strengthens your ability to create solutions for your corporate clients.
- Grow your network – Expand your networks, both business and personal. Also, it’s time for the team at large to expand its collective network. Research larger organizations, and make it a point for team members to reach out and by doing so grow the collective grasp of the team. Be sure to take the time to expand to some groups that aren’t HR related, particularly when it comes to candidate search and exploring new worlds, like emerging technology or design. This is your year to diversify your reach.
- Understand the stakeholders – From the Board of Directors to investors and customers, it’s time to learn more about the people who invest time and money in your company and what makes them tick. Investing time with these individuals can help shape everything from a recruiting and referral strategy to honing in on the right goals for performance management. The best ideas come from the people who know the company best. This is the year they should come from HR.
It’s really quite simple: you’re working to grow your profile and to build capacity for your team and for the company, which is the road to success. The way to the decision-making table is by converting business disruption into unlimited prospects. HR is well positioned to create these opportunities, and it’s time we move forward in this regard.