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Saturday, July 28, 2012

HR as a Business Partner

Every once in a while I come across an article that says HR deserves their ‘spot at the table’… And typically comes off as self-absorbed and/or whiny.

Maybe I’m wrong, but I think HR is there already, aren't we?

More and more I hear the term ‘HR Business Partner’ in place of 'Generalist' and I think this is a reflection of this shift, and would seem to reflect that we are at the table – Business Partner sounds good to me, definitely ahead of the 80's term of 'Personell' don't you think?

But why be happy with just being at the table?

Most organizations are customer facing and this involves people – so rather than sitting at the table, HR should have no shortage of contributions to the discussion.

To do this, I think back to the classic SWOT analysis from business school.

A SWOT analysis at a basic level helps to identify areas of weakness and potential threats to the organization - no reason HR can't utilize this methodology.

But in doing so, be honest and realistic in your assessment of possible weaknesses and threats.

It just makes more sense to be realistic now than having to play catch-up later. When considering the opportunities, take a look at what is occurring today as well as what could occur in the near future – this is your time to be creative (within means)!

One area I like to look at annually is where the biggest issues were:

For example:

- Employee relations – What was the root cause?
- Health & Safety
- New legislation
- New company policy/practice
- Succession concerns/uncertainty

This list isn’t all-inclusive but makes for a decent starting point. If you can look at your weaknesses and potential threats, this will allow you to lead the discussion and to be more involved… even better if you can quantify some of these!

The point I am trying to make is this – HR, we are at the table; we have been invited. But what did you bring?

Monday, July 23, 2012

Gang Violence: Money to the Rescue!

Over the past few weeks there has been alot of talk about violence in the media - and there should be.

First there was the shooting at the Toronto Eaton's Centre, and the shooting at the theatre in Colorado, and the BBQ shooting in Toronto's East End (Scarborough).

Lot's of violence... all gun related.

So it seems logical that Toronto's response is to put more money in to fighting gun violence... and  that Rob Ford is still fighting for more police (and the subsequent budget).

This is great news right, I mean we're getting $12.5 million from the province to fight crime!

I think fighting violence and crime sounds like a terrific idea, but how much more do we have to spend before we will finally stop crime? How many dollars will finally crush this social ill?

How much has the USA spent on the war on drugs? or the war on terrorism?

How close are they to being done/winning?

To me it seems like a fortune teller who needs more money to get a better vision for you...

Maybe money isn't the answer; and who has to work on a tighter budget than HR?

So what is the HR response to this? Performance Management 101.

I think we have enough police, it is just what we choose to focus on.  Performance reviews are based on a quota system - numbers need to be made.

Now don't get me wrong, quotas aren't all bad - but the easiest way to make these numbers is to get a greater portion of the population on minor infractions then to try and stop (or even slow down) gang violence... It just takes too long... it has deep social roots... try quantitating that!

Speeding or not coming to a complete stop is a little easier to address.

So this is where the focus goes.  What gets rewarded gets done.

This is not the problem of the police, but the system that they have been hired to support.

So if the city and province truly want gun violence to be brought down - then why not make the quota related to how many un-registered firearms they bring in each month?

Do you think there would be a little more focus on gangs then? I do.

I have nothing against the Toronto Police, I just think that it is unfortunate that money continues to be thrown at societal problems (Drugs, War, Terrorism, Bullying, Homelessness, etc.) like a fundraising effort - when it truly isn't a question about having raising enough money ayway.