It’s become somewhat of a joke in the HR space to say HR needs a seat at the table. It’s a buzzword bingo term on the HRHappyHour Show – and sure to get groans and giggles whenever it’s brought up. I’m sure as #SHRM10 winds down it’s been mentioned a few times in the meetings – and a few more times at the bars.
To me, that complaint sounds a lot like a high school nerd complaining they can’t get to sit with the “popular” kids at lunch.
Don’t hate on me – I’m not saying HR folks are geeks – just the dynamic is the same.
HR wants to be at the “cool” table. They complain and work hard to try to fit into the mold that they think will get them noticed and invited.
Let me drop some truth on ya… you’re not a “cool” kid. Not yet anyway. Unless your CEO is part Ghandi or Yoda – it ain’t happening soon.
So what’s a square peg to do?
Create Your Own Feakin Table
Nothing is stopping you – the HR pro – from going to the head of Operations (or the 2nd VP or the 3rd VP or the Director) or the head of marketing, or the head of Janitorial services, whoever, and putting the invite out there to meet on a regular basis to chat about their issues and needs.
Chances are they are in the same boat. They want a seat at the table – not their bosses’ seat – but their own. Everyone wants to be heard and you’re in a very unique position to create your own table and give those folks a voice.
HR is about People – Duh
If you think about it – today’s business isn’t driven by lean manufacturing (old, been there done that) or by some new fangled screw-shooter (everyone gets them as soon as they’re available) – business is driven by people and that, my friend, is your wheelhouse. Each of the divisions, groups, departments in your company are staffed by people – and the leaders of each of those areas need your help. Not the leaders who already have “a seat at the table.” I’m talking about the next tier leaders – the leaders that really get the work done. The leaders who are tasked with implementing the grand plans promised by those who just left the “table.”
Those people need you and they need (and want) a voice. Give it to them.
Create Your Own Mastermind Group
Napoleon Hill wrote the book – “Think and Grow Rich” – probably the first law of attraction bible – and in that book he talks about how really successful people created a Mastermind Group. This group, Hill said, will help you find solutions to your problems – and you will help them find solutions to theirs. It’s a simple but powerful concept.
If you can’t get an invite to the “table” – create your own table.
Over time, the work you’ll be doing with your informal “board” will trickle up and down the organization (success is rarely ignored.) You will have created a new table and will be the head of it. You can create the next “cool table.”
Soon, your CEO will be asking for a seat at your table.
At that point, it’s up to you to decide if you want him/her there or if you want it to continue to be a real working group.
Paul Hebert is Senior Account Executive at WorkStride, Inc, and a writer, speaker and consultant. Paul focuses on helping connect best-in-class incentive technology platform to behaviors you need drive business results through employees, channel partners and consumers.
Using proven motivational theory, behavioral economics and social psychology he has driven extraordinary company performance for his clients. Paul is widely considered an expert on motivation, incentives, and engagement.
Other notable activities:
- Interviewed by the BBC on executive motivation and pay
- Quoted three times in USATODAY as an expert in incentives and channel travel programs
- Published in Loyalty360 magazine
- Writer and founding member of the editorial advisory board at the HRExaminer website
- Contributing author of “Enterprise Engagement: The Textbook: A Roadmap to Achieving Organizational Results Through People”
- Contributing author of 3 books on social media “The Age of Conversation #1, #2, and #3”