Painting the big picture

I had a quick conversation with one of my HR buddies the other day about an incident that brought up all those bad feelings I have when people forget the value of HR and the overall role HR plays. I talk about it a lot, not just online. I mostly take the angle of challenging HR professionals to communicate our purpose better, but sometimes it simply boils down to people, even HR, losing the big picture.

Huntsville, AL is full of government sub-contractors and that is still a fairly new world to me, but in a nutshell let’s review the simple foundation: employees working directly for a contract bill their work directly to that contract or contracts they are working on; employees who do not work directly for a contract, let’s call them essential business systems, bill indirectly. Those groups that bill indirectly are costing corporate directly. moneyTheir salaries and department budgets come directly out of overhead, basically they cost the company money. It’s sometimes easy for people, whether it be managers or the executive team, to focus on that one statement “you cost the company money”, but without essential business systems a “direct employee” cannot continue to do business on their own for the long-term.

Who is essential business systems? These could be human resources department (duh), business development, marketing, contracts, accounting, executive administrators, IT group, security, facilities etc. The other important piece often overlooked is that all of these groups have to work together like a well oiled machine for optimum results! If BD isn’t communicating with HR about possible business on the radar then HR probably isn’t getting prepared for the work that it will take to recruit new talent, identify internal talent, prepare benefits training or paperwork, gather salary information for comparison, generally speaking preparing the HR department to make the transition as smooth as possible for the possible customer and new employees. Another example is marketing cannot advertise for upcoming career fairs or college recruiting events if human resources/recruiters have not communicated that schedule to them. These examples could go on for days, but for the sake of time I’ll stop there.

Why this post? Please stop forgetting the big picture. Please understand that all essential business systems receive critique for costing the organization indirect dollars and that you are all in it together. Continue to communicate your purpose to the organization as a whole, but remember the other essential business systems are HRs kindred spirits.!


HR ain’t cool…

I recently had a chat with my baby brother about the company that I currently work for. I was telling him about all the cool stuff that happens where I work now: some of the projects we’ve worked on in the past and some of the areas that we are working in now.. He’s getting excited, my baby sister is sitting there looking at us like we are both idiots because she had heard of almost nothing I mentioned… the one thing she did know she blurted out “that sounds like Call of Duty!”.. it was a brief moment, but I was kind of proud LOL. So my brother is stoked about all this cool stuff and he looks at me plain as day and says “What kind of cool stuff do you get to do there?”…. [crickets]… I have to blink a couple of times and give him a “say whaaaaaat” because I’m assuming he knows what I do for a living… I mean I only talk about it ALL the time (Hey- baby brother, don’t you read my blog? sheesh!). When I realize he is serious and wants an answer I give it to him “I get to find the people we hire to work on all these cool projects”. BOOM! [crickets] He just doesn’t get it. So I try again… “I solve problems that are different from the problems our engineers solve…” NAILED IT! Psyche.. still doesn’t care.. he’s only interested in the cool tech-y engineering type stuff. Hmm. You may be an engineer if…?

Anyway! Isn’t this part of our problem? We can’t express our value? We can’t convince non HR folks why we rock. 😦 Well it is for some of us. And that’s okay, because for those of “us” that it is a problem for, I have faith in you. You can turn it around. You can step up and find awesome people and help grow the awesome people you already have and do some really legit team building and coaching and activities and so on and so forth and be the best HR department you can be! But no one is going to do it for you, so get up off your tush and go do it. And if you don’t want to get up off your tush and go do it I’m going to have to ask you kindly to leave the HR profession; we don’t need anyone bringing us down and we don’t want anyone giving the profession a bad name.. kthanks! 🙂 #muchlove

Let Dwight lay some knowledge on ya...