You’re in a leadership position, or about to be in one. Some of your current questions include: Is this as good as it gets? Could I be in a better role? When I make a decision what pitfalls should I watch for? In Oscar Fuchs’ article How to Measure A Great HR Leadership Role: Bigger is Not Always Better, Oscar mentions his experience working with HR leaders. He says there are many ways to define what makes a good HR leader. “For some individuals, the key focus is in a particular industry, the company’s brand image and its products; for others it will be about the size and complexity of the role; and there are those who place a higher value on the salary and role’s status.” All of these are viable, there is no formula that automatically makes one satisfied in their role. Reflecting on his years of experience, Oscar notes three factors critical to the constitution of an HR leadership role: impact, autonomy, and visibility.

  1. Don’t think scale, think impact instead. “The received wisdom is that size matters when it comes to HR leadership positions. More size and scale means more resources, which in turn means that your role wields more influences…Think again. Scale and complexity do not always make for a happy HR leader since both aspects can make it much harder to see the tangible results of your efforts.” Instead you should gauge emotionally how the people you’re over are working together and the culture of the work environment.
  2. Don’t think Brand Power, think autonomy. The power of brands is incredible, but sometimes beyond “a global core is hampered by a matrix structure that doesn’t allow for enough autonomy or creativity.” A good leadership role will work together with a larger team, but “being part of that team counts for nothing unless the HR leader has a voice that is distinct, and a voice that counts.”
  3. Don’t think status, think visibility. Status often means success in our eyes. “The great HR roles hinge around recognition and visibility, rather than rank and reward. With visibility of their achievements across an organization, an HR leader can gain the respect of their business peers, which in turn affords them the credibility to do more with the role that might otherwise be outlined in their official job scope.” Visibility leads to influence.

What do you think?

Find Oscar: LinkedIn Twitter

2. Remembering the Importance of Empathy in HR

It is a common complaint that HR always sides with the company, regardless of the situation. Robin Ahn contends that this perception must change. She identifies a three-step course of action to combat these prevailing opinions.

  1. Develop a New Mantra. Remember that HR is a service-based function. "Put the 'human' back in Human Resources," Ahn says. While you might be the employment gatekeeper, hiring some and firing others, it is important to maintain empathy throughout the process. Put yourself in the other person's shoes. 
  2. Listen First, Always. Listening and empathy are closely connected; active listening is crucial to helping employees feel as though their voices are heard. Ahn lists three ways to better practice active listening:
    • Create a Distraction-Free Space for Conversation. Cell phones, laptops, and other devices can make employees feel as though they do not have your full attention. Closing these shows that you are open to what they have to say.
    • Validate Their Feelings. Ensure that you clearly understand what the employee is saying. Reflect on what they've said, repeat it back to them, and provide the appropriate response. Sometimes this might even include apologizing.
    • Establish a Course of Action. Determine the best way to accommodate the employee's complaint. Use active listening to work with them to create a course of action.
  3. When it Comes to Delivering Bad News... don't beat around the bush, explain how you came to your conclusion, and follow up. Employees can sense when bad news is about to be delivered, sugarcoating things serves only to create indignation. Explaining how the conclusion was arrived at and following up show that you care, and are willing to go the extra mile to help the employee understand and cope.

Too often HR is relegated to the role of news bearer and corporate apologist. Displaying empathy and active listening in employee interactions will go a long way to combat these notions and create a more productive conversation for both parties.

Find Robin: Twitter

3. The First Step in Recruitment Marketing

In this article, Tim Sackett tackles what he calls "one of the hottest topics in Talent Acquisition": Recruitment Marketing. The basic idea behind recruitment marketing is that recruiters must think like marketers- utilizing resources like blogs, online groups, and social media to attract top talent. But where to begin? Should a strong social media presence take priority over strong blog content?

Sackett contends that this is missing the point: "The first step to recruitment marketing is determining who you are. Not who you want to be, but who... you actually are as an organization." This means getting all parts of the organization aboard a collective identity. Leadership, employees, customers, and talent acquisition often see an organization in entirely different ways. It is important for each department to work with the others to create a common identity. This common identity creates a true and unique story to share, a story that will attract top talent. 

Finding and retaining top talent happens "when you find people who buy into your story, and then upon joining... get to live that same story they were sold." 

Find Tim at his website

4. 4 Key Steps to an Extraordinary Workforce

In this article, Meghan Biro indicates that building an extraordinary workforce has its roots in marketing- employment is a product, not an "amorphous collection of desks." She provides four steps key to embracing the marketing aspect of workplace building.

  1. Reconsider your recruitment channels and their effectiveness. Don't just use Last Click Attribution models to gauge the effectiveness of your recruiting strategies. "Make sure you're measuring the success of your recruitment campaigns across social channels and all promotional content," Biro says. Consider candidates as buyers, and construct a pipeline of content for them to encounter.
  2. Go deeper into social. Candidates use social media to job hunt more than ever, and maintaining a Twitter account is no longer enough to engage them. Use niche platforms like Snapchat and online groups to reach out to candidates on a more personal level. 
  3. Showcase real-life, day-to-day experiences to candidates. "43% of companies... said cultural fit was the most important factor in making a new hire," says Biro. Invite candidates into daily meetings, give them insight into their prospective departments. Let potential hires see the real day-to-day operations of the company.
  4. Stay friendly and build that pipeline. Even if you choose not to go forward with a candidate, stay friendly and keep in contact. Those that leave the talent pipeline on good terms are more likely to stick around in the sales funnel. Those with good experiences in the hiring process will tell their friends and build your brand. 

Part of creating a friendly talent pipeline is letting each candidate present themselves on a more personal level. Job-hunters do not like to be relegated to their resume- video interviewing allows each candidate to let their voice be heard.

Find Meghan: Twitter

5. One of the Top Challenges in the Workplace: Closed-Mindedness

"Knowledge isn't powerful on its own - nor is applying knowledge powerful on its own - only understood knowledge when applied is powerful," says Randy Kennett. He contends that our mind's default setting is that of "closed." This is a matter of efficiency- juggling too many complex and competing ideas at once is not an evolutionary necessity. Making quick decisions at a moment's notice is. While this is fantastic for escaping a rampaging lion, it gets in the way of facilitating progress in the workplace. Kennett outlines three reasons why we all might actually understand less than we think.

  1.  Bounded Rationality. "We can all have difficulty in identifying and considering every possible alternative available, based on the thresholds of the time, the way our brains work, and the information that we have," Kennet explains. When we make decisions, we do not go out of our way to acquire extraneous information that might be useful. Instead, we build our opinions based on our immediate knowledge. 
  2. Cognitive Dissonance. This occurs when there is a disconnect between what we believe to be true, and what the world presents as true. "This conflict can be uncomfortable, and our minds will quickly go to work to become more comfortable," says Kennett. Most often this means we retreat into what we believe to be true, ignoring evidence to the contrary. We like our perceptions of right and wrong, and will selectively neglect evidence to the contrary.
  3. Confirmation Bias. The flip side of cognitive dissonance, confirmation bias occurs when we go out of our way to find information that confirms our pre-existing notions. 

All of the above have the potential to wreak havoc in situations requiring teamwork. Understanding that the above take place is key to embracing open-mindedness throughout the workforce. "Maybe the most valuable and important part (of being open-minded) is understanding the diversity... really understanding the diversity of people and thoughts." 

Find Kennett: Website

Want to know how to have an effective 1:1 conversation as a leader? Check out this HireVue Coach article on nailing the 1:1




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