The HRCubed story, Part 1
I was asked recently why we decided to setup HRCubed and what it was all about. This is a great question and one that has really made me think about why we are here and what makes us tick.
I have worked in and around HR functions for almost two decades. I have seen a lot of great HR leaders doing fantastic things for their organisations but I’ve seen many more HR functions struggling just to get the basics right. The question “How many employees do we have?” will surely summon a wry smile from many in the HR world. How basic a question, but how difficult to answer without weeks of spreadsheet manipulation and corralling a team of system analysts with chocolate bribery for coming to the aid of the HR Director days before the board meeting. Of the HRDs that are getting the basics right, their worries often lie in their ability to influence, their credibility and their relevance in the business world today. With the gig economy, flexible working, equal pay, globalisation and super-powered tech, the HRD of today needs to play the role of trusted partner to the board and business-savvy exec.
Whilst businesses plough money into consumer products and whizzy apps, employees are typically left with clunky, out-dated tech, complex processes and a myriad of buried, wordy policies which leave them none the wiser on how things work around here. Prizing them from their day jobs to grapple with a holiday request for 20 minutes, is not conducive to improvements in productivity or engagement.
But more than just getting the basics right, I am passionate about how people relate to one another within organisations and the great things that can happen if you provide purpose, leadership, nurture and growth, coupled with agility, inclusion and a set of strong values and behaviours for everyone to live by. This is where the HRD can add real strategic value.
Organisations are essentially just a collection of people trying to get something done. The most successful organisations are the ones who understand people and their place in the business. These organisations also understand the very different motivations across a diverse and global workplace and are able to mould, invigorate, lead and encourage their people to do their very best.
Yes HR need to help employees to book a holiday swiftly (unless of course you are one of the radical organisations who are ridding the business of holiday entitlement altogether – a topic for another day), but more than that they must help to engender a culture of focus and business value.
I setup HRCubed to help organisations focus on people and business strategy. I believe that HR’s biggest challenge is to align organisational strategy with people strategy and thus become the board’s trusted advisor. There are 5 key questions that in my opinion every organisation needs to ask themselves, but importantly they must have solid intelligent answers that everyone understands and buys into:
- “What is our mission” – the purpose of being, what do we do, what do we exist to achieve? Crucially, this is about what the organisation believes in.
- “Why is this important” – what do we provide to the world that makes it a better place?
- “What is the vision for the future” – where do we want to get to, what are our ambitions and objectives? It’s important to make these achievable and measurable. Having a woolly or emotional aspiration can be demotivating and risks moving you nowhere. Equally, an aspiration that is difficult or impossible to measure means that even if you do get there, you may never know.
- “How does each individual contribute to the organisation’s objectives?” – how do our people focus their efforts so that everyone is moving in one direction?
- “Why would people want to work here?” and “Why do people stay?” – this is your Employee Value Proposition (EVP). What can we provide to the person that will invite them in and encourage them to stick around? What do we hold dear and what makes us a great place to work?
In my opinion everything that HR does should feed the EVP and the business strategy. Without this direct link and focus on people and the direction of the business, HR and the company as a whole are destined never to achieve what they set out to.
So this is why I was asked to setup HRCubed. To help HR functions not only to get the basics right, but to align people and strategy to move their businesses in the right direction. How do we do this? Tune in for Part 2.