The Secret to Successful HR Projects

Tim Sackett Bad HR, Change, Communication, Employee Communications, Employee Relations, Good HR, HR, HR (& Life!) Advice, HR Technology, Innovation, Leadership, Metrics, Onboarding, Performance, Recognition, Recruiting, Relocation, SHRM, Sourcing, Succession Planning, T+D, Tim Sackett

I think the world is broken into two types of people:

1. People who do things the hard way.

2. People who let other people do things the hard way.

I’m going to tell you what kind of person I am, but I actually didn’t write this piece, I shopped it out to someone on for $5.

The Secret Sauce ingredients to great HR Projects aren’t much different!   Too often we let our own pride get in our way to really do great HR work, fast.

Let me explain.  There is almost nothing you can come up with in HR, that someone in a bigger company, with more budget money and resources, hasn’t already designed, launched, given up on, went back through the process of re-launching and made it successful.  Your problem is – you want this to be “your” project.  “You” want to take credit for it.  Stop that! You know what that is? That’s Pride.  I think Marsellus Wallace in Pulp Fiction said it best:


Fast Company recently had an article that explains this concept of “Pattern Thinking” perfectly and gave four crucial steps to taking advantage of the great work others do, for the benefit of your own organization.  From the article:

1. Eliminate “Not Invented Here” Thinking. All organizations have this to some degree or another. “Oh, we can’t do that! That’s what our competitor does!” Well, does it work? Do your customers want it? Go make it your own – with your twist – make it better – but give up trying to make something new that you invented. It takes a ton of time and resources to invent – especially when a new invention isn’t needed to solve your problem.  Which is frequently the case in HR!

2. Act Like You Own the Place. Not in the negative way like, “we’re doing it my way because I own this place.”  Like, “we can afford to go crazy on this project, let’s just put a new spin on what we saw that other great HR shop doing and follow in their footsteps.”  That’s smart – that is what an owner does.

3. Keep your Big goal, Top-0f-Mind.  This is where HR strategy comes into play.  If you know, vividly, where you want to take your HR department, and keep it in front of everyone on your team.  Nothing will stop you from getting there.  Be loud, be proud, be visual.  Don’t try and hide where you want to go – it makes it so much harder to get there.  (Why do we try and keep our projects on the down-low? Oh, that’s that pride thing again…)

4. Seek out knowledge holders and sources.   Let’s say I’m trying to improve my 401K participation, or employee engagement, or heck name an HR project!  Find out who’s done a great job out there doing what you want to do – and reach out to them.  Unless they are a clear direct competitor, most will fall over backwards to tell you everything they did – what worked, what didn’t, how they would do it differently next time, etc.  Our leadership likes to do stuff they know will work – if you can show them it worked somewhere else – all the better!

No one said that designing and launching successful HR projects is easy. It’s not!  It’s hard work, but don’t make it harder than it has to be.  Don’t be a #1, be a #2 – it’s easier and more successful!