“E Pluribus Unum” a motto that can work for HR and HR technology! …. really.

During this polarizing, exasperating, entertaining and just crazy political cycle for the Republican and Democratic nominations, I seem to pay more attention and even look forward to reading the op-ed pieces in the NY Times. Gail Collins, Maureen Dowd, Frank Bruni are among my favorites. Also Thomas L Friedman who most know as the author of some far reaching best sellers about our global environment and workforce, particularly “The World is Flat”. Recently (NY Times, Feb 17, 2016), Mr. Friedman had an interesting op-ed piece entitled “Who Are We?” which was triggered by his amazement and dismay about our current election cycle. He notes that he: “finds the current election bizarre for many reasons, but none more than this: If I were given a blank sheet of paper and told to write down Americas’ three greatest sources of strength, they would be “a culture of entrepreneurship,” “an ethic of pluralism” and the “quality of our governing institutions” And yet I look at the campaign so far and I hear leading candidates trashing all of them.” Friedman goes on to discuss Donald Trump – with his issue banning all Muslims – as showing no pluralism, and Bernie Sanders for his unworkable and contrary to US history view of socialist governing, and Friedman finds fault with Ted Cruz ‘s slashing and hateful ranting against established government institutions and ideals. Friedman ends his opinion piece with the following, and this is what made me think about HR and HR Technology. “American didn’t become the richest country in the world by practicing socialism, or the strongest country by denigrating its governing institutions, or the most talent filled country by stoking fear of immigrants. It got here via the motto “E Pluribus Unum” – Out of Many, One”. He ends his column by saying: “Our forefathers so cherished that motto they didn’t put it on a hat. They put it on coins and then on the dollar bill. For a guy with so many of those, Trump should have noticed by now.” No matter your political leanings, I highly recommend reading his column. But, now allow me – as I seem to do recently – to take this concept into my sphere of (shall we say) influence – that of HR and the HR technology. The concept of “Out of many – one” – can lead to a number of actionable practices on the part of HR executives, HRMS project teams and the HRMS software providers themselves. Here are a few concepts to keep in mind for these groups – based on the vital American motto: For Human Resource professionals at all levels: Out of MANY databases or master files – there should be Out of MANY separate and distinct department heads, each with their own objectives and goals – there should be ONE overriding goal and strategy that they must be in alignment with – that of their organizations’. Out of MANY (most likely) static and ad-hoc reports – there should be at least ONE that is deemed effective and provides meaningful and actionable information in support of the strategic goals of the entity. Out of the MANY needs within your organization – prioritize and pick ONE that will deliver VALUE to your business – and get that specific need addressed, fixed, enhanced and/or resolved – by the many technology tools that have the ability to do so. For an HRMS project team – doing a HRMS software evaluation and selection or for any project team evaluating a third party provider: Out of MANY self-interests, goals and objectives among individual team members and “end users” – seek to identify ONE common goal with agreed to objectives (deliverables and timeframes) and then get it done. Out of the MANY HRMS solution providers (software vendors and consultants) – lean towards selecting the ONE that give you the comfort level of being in a business partnership – together having effective collaboration methods and mutual respect. And finally, for the HRMS solution provider: Out of the MANY pre-configured and delivered best practices, workflow and functionality – make sure to deliver the ONE that can be readily seen by those seeking a solution – that will add value, fix a convoluted process, and provide efficiencies that can be documented. Out of MANY issues that your current client or current prospect organization documents and/or verbalizes – focus your attention and response on the ONE that will result in your client/prospect organization’s seeing the quickest and most value added solution, the one which will, with proven metrics, alleviate the largest point of pain. If we believe in, and keep in mind “E Pluribus Unum” then...

DOES THIS LOOK LIKE HR AT YOUR COMPANY? – A CAVEMAN MENTALITY

In my humble opinion, many companies don’t appreciate, know, utilize or understand what their Human Resources function can do if given the right support, direction, tools, underlying technology and the correct mindset. We all can agree and recognize the burden of regulations, legislation, policies and procedures put on the administrative responsibilities that HR is typically charged with accomplishing. It will not go away, and yes, someone has to do it. More importantly, most companies have some kind of HR technology – either specific modules that focus on a few key functions such as Recruitment and Talent Management, or more comprehensive HRMS/HRIS or even HCMS. And yet, some of these companies still have entrenched procedures and policies that might bring a nod of self-recognition to the cartoon shown here. Another frequent situation is organizations who are seeking new or upgraded HR technology in support of specific functions or a general replacement of an older HRIS, seek solutions based on what they are currently doing. They know how to drag a box to move things through the sand. But they are myopic, of a singular vision and do not seek to see new potential pathways or use new or available tools. This will lead to the same result – shown above. The answer, visualize what CAN be done. Not what has to be done. Take advantage of the delivered and well thought out workflows provided by the HRMS software. Take advantage of the vendors’ knowledge of best practices and workflows. Look at the tools that you will have, or already have that are being underutilized. Insist that the end result of any new implementation, or of any new program using technology provides actionable value. And that Value can be shown, proven and provides a new path for progress. There can be, and will be, metrics to make your point. After metrics, workforce analytics come to the forefront, to gain insight from the metrics. If HR can find and prove the first few instances of value, then its reputation, visibility and importance will continue to grow. Well beyond being needed to do administration and recordkeeping. This can only happen if you visualize and stretch the capabilities within your existing HRMS or seek out the improved solutions that are provided by many of the HRMS providers, yes, as some sales person would say, with “out of the box” functionality – getting HR out of their cave and into the world around them. Marc Feb 22,...