HR – Dribble, Dribble, Pass…

Paul Hebert Good HR, Innovation, Leadership, Paul Hebert

(Why should Sackett, Boese and Dunn get all the sports connections to HR?)

HR wants to be relevant.  HR wants a seat at the table.  HR wants to be part of the business.

But HR doesn’t want the ball.

They want to pass it to the next person and not be responsible for the loss.  And by default – they won’t be responsible for the win either.  HR needs to want the ball.

Dateline: Globe and Mail, March 22 – article:  “Feeling unmotivated? HR managers say it’s the boss’s fault.”

“A majority of the HR managers said executives are falling down in four areas. Seventy one percent said managers should listen more to employees’ opinions, 68 percent said they fail to communicate clear expectations, 58 percent said they need to give more recognition and praise and 57 percent said they need to provide more learning and development opportunities.”

So let me ask this HR peeps…which of the four things in that quote are on your to do list?  I’m guessing maybe one – reviewing Reward and Recognition platforms so you can install a “system” that helps managers NOT be involved in the recognition of great employee effort.

It’s the People – And Their Managers

Too often I have this exact conversation with clients.  They want a system to replace the work that their management should be doing to engage and drive performance in an organization.  They want to “outsource” human connections to a point and click interface believing they have “done the job” and forever on they will have engaged employees.

HR Can’t Pass the Ball

But HR can’t “systemize” engagement.  You can automate tracking.  You can capture data for analysis. But you can’t automate human interaction.

I’ve ranted about this for 5 years now – engagement, motivation, recognition, satisfaction – whatever the buzz-word du jour is – is the Manager’s responsibility.  And it’s a responsibility that can’t happen between bits and bytes in the system.  It has to happen eye-ball to eyeball.

And… since HR is responsible (IMHO) for human “capital” – and Managers are human capital – ipso facto: HR is responsible for Manager’s ability to engage employees.

That means HR is responsible for training, for interventions, for discussions, for help, for suggesting re-assignment, etc.

HR needs to be the department that ensures managers aren’t the problem.  Saying managers are at fault is the same as a sales person saying it is the client’s fault for not buying. Your job is to enhance management skill sets so you have engaged employees.

I know I started with basketball but I’m ending with football… Take some advice from the Keanu Reeves classic movie, The Replacements – when Keanu tells the coach played by Gene Hackman – “I want the ball.”  Hackman responds – “Winners always do.”

So … go get the ball.  Now.  You’re a winner right?

A little video treat – sometimes you need to get aggressive if you want the ball.  Email/RSS subscribers may need to click through to the FOT website to see the video below.