Brockbank and Ulrich’s compelling work defines HR and its value, but book fails to address the role of management.
During the SHRM Conference, I promised a dedicated column to one book brought to my attention while there: “The HR Value Proposition” by Wayne Brockbank and David Ulrich. The book is the result of research they conducted over 18 years with data gathered from more than 29,000 HR professionals and line managers. They raise some thought-provoking ideas that all HR professionals should ponder. You may not agree with all they say (I don’t, as you will see below), but what they say should command our attention in an effort to be more effective and successful HR professionals.
Following Hurricane Katrina, companies should re-examine their HR disaster recovery plan to ensure resumption of regular operations.
As I wrote this in late September, reports of devastation to lives, property, and businesses wrought by Katrina and Rita dominated the media. Federal and state governments were issuing a flurry of legislation and regulatory relief. Individuals and businesses generously provided a helping hand.
On-site healthcare and disability management benefits employees and the corporate bottom line.
The conventional wisdom among observers of the HR outsourcing industry is that providers want customers to focus more on service quality while customers primarily want to talk about costs. But what if a new HRO service were launched that not only helped lower employee costs but also had an immediate, measurable impact on worker productivity?
Know what your needs are before deciding whether best-of-breed or full-service providers can best meet them.
One of the most interesting debates in the HRO industry is the dialogue around scope boundaries. In the early days of this industry, suppliers were jockeying to include as many of the HR functions within the scope of the deal as possible. Today, this line of demarcation goes well beyond HR, with suppliers making proposals that include finance and accounting, procurement, and customer service functions among others. Obviously, different groups of suppliers are making arguments on both sides of the equation for which model is better for you. And lest you have a jaded view of suppliers, you would be right to suspect that some of these are about positioning their relative competitive position.
The subject of leadership goes to the root of organized human behavior. Throughout history, no great endeavor has been accomplished without leadership. Since 1988 when HRI began conducting its major issues surveys of many of the top companies in the world, leadership has been ranked among the top five issues and is expected to remain a top issue 10 years into the future. But leaders don’t spring into the world fully formed. They need to be trained and developed, whatever their natural talents.
In July, 2005 The American Management Association (AMA) and the Human Resource Institute (HRI) conducted a global leadership development survey with over 1,500 responses from managers and HR experts around the world. The findings address three 3 key questions:
· the drivers of change that have an impact on leadership
· the elements of organizational culture most necessary for effective leadership development
· the leadership competencies most important today and in the next 10 years?
At this free webcast, Jay Jamrog, Executive Director, Human Resource Institute (HRI) and Ed Reilly, CEO/President, American Management Association (AMA) will discuss the survey results and how companies both large and small can change their leadership development programs to develop the best talent.
Monday, November 7, 2005
12:00 – 1:00 pm EST
Complimentary – No cost
(Seattle, Washington – October 18, 2005) Intrepid Learning Solutions, Inc. has been awarded a multi-year contract to provide the MSN Division at Microsoft Corp. with outsourced training services for its sales team designed to help support the growth of MSN.
“Effective training is key to enabling us to meet our sales team’s strategic business objectives,” said Stephen Kim, director of Sales Research at MSN. “We chose Intrepid because it is experienced, responsive and has a great track record of creating and supporting training solutions that enable business success.”
Charlotte, NC October 12, 2005 – HR XCEL, LLC, announced today that it has signed contracts with several new clients. HR XCEL will provide a wide range of services for the new clients, ranging from full human resource outsourcing to benefits administration, payroll administration, employee relations services, time & attendance solutions, COBRA administration, FMLA administration and FSA administration.
"As HR XCEL continues to grow, we remain unwaveringly focused on providing our clients with outstanding HR expertise from HR professionals," said Barbara Sheridan, president and co-founder, HR XCEL. "We thrive on tailoring our solutions for each new client and then providing them with world-class service."
HR XCEL IS PLEASED TO ANNOUNCE THE FOLLOWING NEW CLIENTS:
American Management Association and Human Resource Institute Provide In-depth Look at the Future of Leadership
NEW YORK, October 4, 2005—Too often, companies fall victim to the organizational hurdles that keep leadership development programs from being truly top-notch. Lack of measurement tools and rewards systems of leadership behaviors are commonly cited obstacles that corporations face. That’s according to a new global survey commissioned by American Management Association (AMA) and conducted by the Human Resource Institute (HRI).
The AMA/HRI survey on “Leading into the Future” included responses from 1,573 managers and HR experts from around the world. The survey was conducted in conjunction with AMA’s affiliates and global partners, including Canadian Management Centre in Toronto, Management Center de Mexico in Mexico City, Management Centre Europe in Belgium, and AMA Asia in Japan.
Strategic Employee Recognition
At Westfield Group–an Ohio-based insurance, banking, and related financial services company–we want our employees to feel not just comfortable at work, but like its the only place in the world where they should be. Considering some of the perks offered to employees–the use of two golf courses, gourmet meals, dry cleaning services, and an on-site fitness center–one would think that overall employee satisfaction would never be an issue at Westfield. That’s just not the case.
REWARDING GOOD BEHAVIOR
A 2002 internal employee satisfaction survey indicated that many employees actually felt undervalued due to the lack of an effective recognition program. We had a program in place, but it ran so slowly that awards were often passed out months after the commendable act or achievement took place. In addition, employees–and even some managers, for that matter–did not exactly understand how the program related to the company’s core competencies. It was clear that a change was in order. We needed a program that ran more smoothly, that recognized employees more often and promptly, that clearly reinforced company values, and, most importantly, dismissed the feeling among employees that they are unappreciated and undervalued.
We called upon recognition industry leader O.C. Tanner Company to mend our problems. They helped us understand that not just recognition, but strategic recognition is the way to motivate employees, reinforce company values, and garner real business results. On the surface, strategic recognition sounded like what we already had been trying to do. But it goes much deeper than just handing out awards in a timely manner. It means focusing recognition on the right behaviors, simple and measurable, in order to be completely beneficial.
O.C. Tanner trainers helped identify and establish program goals and objectives, and the importance of those goals was emphasized to managers. With our new program, called Westfield Excellence, we were able to do away with the 300-plus-page spreadsheet that was used to track awards (ineffectively, in many cases). With online, cutting-edge tools, the program is fast, easy to use, and awards always show up on time. Westfield Excellence also encourages employees to nominate their co-workers for performing or adhering to one of the company competencies. But we didn’t leave that to chance. O.C. Tanner and Westfield trainers and experts have made sure all managers and employees understand what is important to our company, what the specific goals of the new recognition program are, and how to use the online system.
THE NUMBERS NEVER LIE
And it’s working. One of the best indicators that Westfield Excellence is succeeding is the fact that employee turnover has decreased by 7.7 percent since the program’s introduction, an obvious, measurable benefit. Also, according to in-house surveys, 80 percent of employees now say they are satisfied at work, as opposed to 70 percent when we were running the old program. Employees in general are buying into the concept of the new program. More than 1,100 employees have been individually thanked and awarded by co-workers for their effort, showing that employees are enjoying the new culture of appreciation and are using the program to recognize each other–perhaps the most effective type of recognition.
An important part of a successful recognition program is defining the company values and behaviors that are most valued, and recognizing employees for embodying those core competencies. Our CEO, Bob Joyce, calls this connecting the dots; and that seems to be happening as well. First-quarter results from Westfield Excellence showed that 64 percent of its awards were related to the core competency of customer focus, which is our most important goal.
So employees are satisfied and they are recognizing each other and getting great awards. What does that mean for bottom-line business? Well, in a 2004 internal survey, 89 percent of employees agreed with the statement, “The work I do at Westfield is meaningful to me.” That’s already up five percent since 2002. Also, of all the employees that received recognition through the new program, 90 percent stated via the accompanying online survey tool they were extremely satisfied with all facets of the program. That is certainly translating into bottom-line benefits for our organization.
We are seeing how recognition, when done strategically, is an HR investment that is sure to pay off.
Outsourcing helped a legendary Florida Keys resort reduce workers’ compensation claims.
Holiday Isle Beach Resorts and Marina is a sprawling four-resort complex that includes hotels, restaurants, shops, recreation, and entertainment in Islamorada, Fla. We have more than 275 employees and all the complex payroll, risk, safety, and human resource issues that come with such an expansive seasonal organization.
FINDING CALM IN THE CHAOS
We first began utilizing professional employer organizations (PEOs) several years ago as a resource for reduced workers’ compensation rates. We had to go through a number of PEO relationships, however, before finding the right outsourcing group that took the time to partner with us to establish compliance procedures that would really get a handle on reducing costs. It got to the point where our average annual costs for compensation claims was well into the six figures. And that was before September 11th.
The entire hospitality industry experienced considerable loss in occupancies and halting reservation projections during the latter part of 2001. Rising claims costs and the severe drop in revenue could have spelled disaster for what has become something of a legendary resort (not to mention our “world-famous” Tiki Bar). Thankfully, by that time, we had signed with AlphaStaff.
AlphaStaff is a PEO that already had customers in the hospitality industry, so they understood the destabilization that we were experiencing after 9/11. Plus they established processes for our resort community that forced us to review how we trained our employees on safety and human resource issues and how we approached our staffing in general.
A detailed survey of our health and safety programs revealed a number of improvements that could be implemented to create a safer working environment and control costs. AlphaStaff laid out causation factors for claims from the past three years. They presented a loss control service plan–complete with goals, target dates, and formal reviews. They even sent our head of security to a three-day safety management class so he could better understand the processes. He returned enthused and ready to work hand-in-hand with our outsource partner.
Such safety programs do not even address everything our outsourcer offers in regard to payroll, technology integration, and human resource management, as well as their disaster preparedness in the face of hurricane devastation, which is extremely important for any business located in the Keys. They helped us establish “best practices” with reporting payroll and provided reports for auditing that ensured our employees are accurately compensated. They have provided training on documentation for new hires and other required documents for account maintenance, and supplied customized reports to assist with our GL accounting. They keep us informed of any new HR laws, such as the recent FLSA changes, to ensure there’s no negative impact, or at least that the impact is mitigated. But it’s their focus on safety that reduced our claims cost from a couple hundred thousand dollars in years past to less than $50,000 in 2004 and projecting to almost half that amount in 2005–more than an 85 percent drop in claims.
Possibly the most beneficial aspect to this particular outsourcing experience was how extremely interactive our PEO was with our employees. They made sure that everyone, from our senior management to our janitorial staff, understood their contribution to maintaining a safe work environment. AlphaStaff made safety education a priority and engaged with every department until the entire organization was on board. An additional benefit to this employee focus has been a significant increase in employee retention. The heightened awareness of all safety issues has proven to be a wonderful demonstration of how much Holiday Isle values our workforce, and our employees have responded appreciatively.
All PEOs are not created equal. But if a hospitality, or any, organization can find a vendor that takes so much interest in reducing risk and touting safety throughout the company like AlphaStaff has done for Holiday Isle, we would recommend they sign on immediately. Then maybe the HR manager making such a cost-conscious decision on behalf of their organization can reward themselves with a trip to the Florida Keys, of course!
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