Making the cutI had a conversation a few weeks ago with Andreea Boier-Jennings who is the Director of Human Resources at Mainstream Advertising, Inc in the US, a publicly held technology firm. And we got to talking about a number of things including how the financial crisis has impacted their organisation and their industry and how they manage the talent issue. An article on this will appear in the January 2010 issue of the magazine. I asked Andreea as I ask many HR professionals, local and abroad, how well integrated HR is, in the organisation. It’s a curiosity about how different people approach their role and what impact they’ve had in driving HR’s value forward, especially in organisations or cultures where perhaps, HR has not yet, come to the table. And the conversations I’ve had through the years on this one issue have pointed me in a singular direction. That the people who’ve successfully made it have really listened to their inner voice. They’ve stayed true to what they believed in, they’ve not let the setbacks get in their way and they’ve been patient. In what way? 1. They’ve given more than they’ve received.
What does this mean? By and large, these HR professionals have had to reinvent their department or completely revisit how they’ve approached an issue or their management team. These HR people are seen as true business partners. They built it from scratch or they revised how the role should be played. And there’s tangible value. Profits have risen, teamwork has improved, management has seen the benefits. 2. They don’t take no for an answer.
These are professionals who don’t rest on their laurels nor do they complain about the status quo. They see their situation and the predicaments faced as an opportunity to shine. It’s still only an opportunity, nothing’s a given. Their vision is not of what reality they see presented in front of them but of what could be. If we want to make a difference, it is that same staying power that we ourselves need to manifest. 3. They proactively get to grips with the business.
These professionals realise that they add value when they present a holistic integrated view of things. That’s why they actively seek to understand the different parts of the business that dont necessarily have anything to do with HR, whether it be the sales function or the marketing angle. They understand, with more than a passing reference, what the financials truly signify in terms of the business decisions being made. And thereafter, the solutions they come forward with, account for these additional viewpoints and present a tighter grip on what needs to happen. Sure, it definitely helps when your management team understands and supports the role HR plays. But true HR professionals don’t wait for it to happen for them to take the course of action that they do.