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In This Episode

  • With this unique opportunity based on things we can’t influence, how are you spending your time setting yourself, your career, and your HR department, up for success after we emerge from this situation?
  • What do you need to stop, start, and continue doing, in order to take things to the next level in HR?
  • Now is the time to reimagine how to be the strategic HR partner and what that will look like in our new normal.

With so many different constraints and changes happening to the world of work and HR right now, it’s a good opportunity to consider how you want to emerge from this situation as a more strategic partner. How can we move what HR does forward, by leaps and bounds, and start focusing on the critical delivery items and the employee experience?


(00:00): And so I really encourage all of you to take this time and think about how are you going to emerge on the other side of this. What things about your career do you want to grow or change? Hi, I'm Melissa Anzman. I'm an HR practitioner and the founder of better a leading HR consulting agency that specializes in the employee experience. I've worked in HR for over 15 years and companies big and small across the U S and the, let's be clear, there have been a lot of different roles across several different industries. Throughout my HR career, I've been laser-focused on delivering an employee experience that engages and connects employees and their company, often specializing in HR partnership metrics and employee communications for the school. Nerds like me out there. I have a bachelor's degree in communications and an MBA in human resources management. Throughout the years, I've seen HR struggle to align their activities with the businesses bottom line, and I'm afraid that in our current world of work, if we're not able to fully showcase our strategic capabilities, HR is going to be a thing of the past because I think HR is the most important role within a company.

(01:16): I want to be sure we're still here to make an impact. That rethink HR podcast explores the future of HR through the lens of the employee experience. We're going to do that by sharing real examples of what's working and what's not and by focusing on specific strategies you can implement right away without any BS and a dose of humor and sarcasm on the side. You'll hear from me as well as other HR practitioners, experts and clients, and each new weekly episode, so be sure to subscribe to this podcast and iTunes, Stitcher or wherever you listen to your podcast and let's connect on better.com as we're all starting to get a little bit more than eager to return back to work or what the new normal is. I think now is a really great opportunity for us to really consider what is our new normal or what's the next iteration, what are we doing today right now to prepare herself and setting herself up for success on the other side of the pandemic.

(02:23): So we don't know what it's going to be like. We don't even know when that's going to happen, but now is the time to start considering what it may look like because we can influence that. We want to be able to have a say in our new normal. And so while we didn't plan for the situation and in fact it is not the best or ideal situation for many of us to be in, it is somewhat of a forced pause and a reset for us to consider an act, an influence in shape, what our new normal is going to be. So a few days ago I was listening to the unstoppable entrepreneur podcast where Kelly Roach, the host of that show asked the question, how are you going to reinvent yourself in your business post pandemic? Which made me really think about how we can do that. And how relevant that is from an HR perspective and for your career.

(03:22): And as I thought through that, it was really clear to me that many of us have either fallen into HR, we got put in HR if you're me, we actively sought out HR without maybe knowing exactly what it entails and we kept moving forward. We kept growing our career, but so many of us haven't taken the opportunity to think through strategically what we're doing, why we're doing it, how we can be more of a strategic partner. And so I really encourage all of you to take this time and think about how are you going to emerge on the other side of this? What things about your career do you want to grow or change for your company and your role in HR at that company? What does that look like in this new normal or better yet? What do you want it to look like?

(04:20): You know, I often lament about how we've been trying to transform HR for the past 25 years through employee engagement. Then by getting a seat at the table as strategic partners. All of this stuff based on things of thought leadership, I should say, not actual HR practice that didn't deliver on the transformation promise. We've, we've fallen short in some ways. In other ways we've grown leaps and bounds, don't get me wrong, but in general I talk about how this hasn't worked. We haven't been able to grow past the traditional parameters of what HR is and does this situation, our current status changes everything. Where we are today in the midst of uncertainty really changes the future of work and HR and what's possible and because of that we really can move past it. We can push the boundaries, we can expand beyond to have the opportunity to dramatically change the way you work and how HR works going forward.

(05:26): I mean, just consider a company who had a very reluctant or zero telecommuting policy in the past. Are they paying for that now? Probably, but in addition to paying for it, their employees are figuring it out. They're getting the work done from home and work is still getting done and so it's almost a proof factor moment for the naysayers if a telecommute or remote workforce of how effective it actually can be. That's just one example. Think about HR stuff, the tactical pieces. How different is it to not have HR sitting down the hall? How are your leaders getting in touch with you? Email, which they were probably doing anyway, maybe a phone call, meetings, et cetera, but you're still able to be an HR partner from afar. So does that mean you have to be on-site? Does that mean you can be onsite half the time going forward and so on?

(06:30): There are so many things about what HR does about what you specifically do in your career that you can influence right now, and so as you think about what the new normal looks like, what you want your new normal to look like, I'd like to encourage you to do this exercise, which is what do you want to start, stop and continue now. This is an exercise you've probably heard of. We do it a lot in HRA, a lot in training, but it is really helpful for as we look at what's next, what are those activities in our job, in our career, in HR as a department? Do we need to stop? What are those things that just are not adding incremental value? What do we not have time for without as much staff? What is not moving the needle of the company's ROI or bottom line forward?

(07:30): What do you as an HR professional want to stop doing in the next six months or so? So consider what you want to stop. Then I go into the start now. The start can be a lot of fun. This is like a brainstorm of all the opportunities that you want to be doing, whether it's a new skill set or a focus area or moving from engagement to experience. Please for all things that are Holy, have that on your list, but what are those things in HR that you want to start doing? They are the things that add incremental value. They're the things that you want to learn and know and have as you grow your career. But really be clear on the start factor. And then finally continue. Not everything is broken. I know we talk about a lot of broken things in HR. We're great at pointing those things out, but not everything is broken.

(08:25): So what are the things that we want to continue as we become more strategic, as we shape what HR is, what they can do, how we do partner with the company, how we can deliver going forward? What do we need to continue to do that? So that would be things like just throwing it out there, some of your HR activities that you do. We're probably going to still have annual enrollment going forward, or probably want going to want to be strategic business partners and grow relationships and have team meetings or whatever that is. But really think about that continue piece as well. So as you work through those three buckets and categories, I want you to then pull the thread. You've heard me say that a bunch. You know my favorite question is, so what? So we're going to ask. So what for all those things that you want to stop, start and continue, because the thing is is we can no longer afford, whether it is a money factor or a time factor, we cannot afford to do work that doesn't drive the bottom line.

(09:33): Now, as our economy continues to improve, as we get back to work, as things actually settle into this new normal that we're defining, that's going to change, we'll have some space and time for a few more things that are a little bit more incremental or testing or dare I say fun. Not that all work isn't fun. It really should be. But I digress. But for right now, we are now feeling the impact of a workforce that has been downsized or we're doing more with less, or we're doing more because we need to do more, or our workforce has simply changed. So with this, we really have to take a look at how all of these things are going to matter to the business and the company and the bottom line as we move forward. So answer the so what? And as you put those pieces together, what does HR look like now?

(10:32): How do you support your employees? How do you shape the experience for them? How do you deliver on your company's ROI and the big spend that they do spend on their people? What does that look like? And not only for you, but how is that going to greatly influence an impact, the future of what HR is and can be. So for example, we have historically been personnel like 25 30 years ago where we basically did paperwork, we took employees names and addresses and loaded them into this system and did I nine verifications and all that fun tactical stuff. Now some of us are still doing those things and so, and for most of us, hopefully some of those pieces are a little bit automated, but HR still has a hand in so much tactical and that's not what we're here for. That is first of all not sustainable.

(11:34): As we think about downsizing and investments, investing in things that can be automated or duplicated by AI is not going to be a longterm success factor for you. So get clear with that real quickly. We can't influence it. We've seen it happen. We've been talking about the elusive AI for several years now in HR. Now is a time that companies are going to have to urgently turn the switch on for those ideas that they had in the past about AI because they don't have the spend for employees. So just know that we don't want to be doing the tactical things cause it's not sustainable, particularly in a down economy particularly, um, with so much unknown. So with that, like how, how strategic can some of your deliverables are. So how can you move past? What's the expectation and deliver more value. So for instance, I do talk about experience a lot.

(12:39): I wrote a book on it. I'm obsessive about it. I think you should be too. But the reason why I'm so obsessed with the experience are those are the things that we can influence that elevate HR to a different level than being just personnel. It brings us to the wow factors that our employees need. It brings us to the supportive partners that our leaders need to learn from, from coaching, from, um, conversations, guidance, et cetera. The experience is more than just what we've historically said. Engagement. Engagement is an emotion that occurs, experiences what we influence. And so engagement's an outcome for sure of the experience, but it's not something that we in HR can actually change the minds of for our employees. And so when our work builds to an engagement factor, we're not focusing on how we actually drive the experience and how we actually become more than tactical paper pushers.

(13:44): So that's at a high level what HR can change and do. But I want you to take that same lens and really think through it for you as to what is that new normal going to look like. What could it possibly be? How do you want to emerge as that different leader, the different HR person, the different HR organization or maybe if different is a scary for word for you, enhanced or elevated HR department, career person, et cetera. After the new normal because we are going to be relied upon a lot for the next several years as we rebuild our economy as HR is at the center of training and building our people up and back to work and growing them to what we need and meeting. The challenge that's out there from the external factors are at the center of that. So how can you take what your skills are and make sure that you continue to lead from that front and we have the time now to do it.

(14:53): And more importantly, your companies are now open to the idea because they don't have a choice. They weren't prepared for the situation. None of us were for being honest. And we have a real opportunity to troubleshoot some of those big things that were broken and influence the outcomes because they were so broken and we sort of pulled the sheet back and saw everything that was under the covers during this unexpected event. So while yes, I know that there is so much uncertainty right now and there's so many of those external emotional influences and factors, there's still a silver lining or two and the one that I really want you to think about right now, one of the biggest ones that you can influence is with this opportunity. How can you do more strategic work and focus on the things that are going to make a difference going forward?

(15:56): All that stuff around the employee experience, all that stuff around how you can be a strategic partner. How can you move that forward? Right now we simply can't deliver HR as we were delivering at six months ago. Our organizations can't withstand that, nor can your own careers. So what are you going to do and how are you going to be when we emerge from this crisis? Start writing that story. Now start planning that new future now so that we can make those incremental steps today as we're still in it so that on the other side, it's not a big leap forward.

(16:44): This podcast is brought to you by the employee experience solution book. Today's HR leaders and innovative workplaces can't waste time on focusing on employee engagement. We know that in our current uncertain times, traditional employee engagement tactics are becoming even less effective and even more expensive. To increase employee engagement and keep your talent engaged right now and beyond, you need to dig deeper and get to the root of the issue. The employee experience book is designed to help you rethink your approach to employee engagement by focusing on the employee experience. Starting right now, pick up your copy of the employee experience solution at Amazon or at [inaudible] dot com slash book that's B E T T hr.com/book thank you so much for tuning in for this episode of the rethink HR podcast. For more information, including the show notes and resources, please go to rethink HR podcast.com for [inaudible].

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