HR 101: Three-things you need to remember as HR person.
Updated: Dec 11, 2021
If there is any advice I can give to any aspiring HR talent, is to understand these three things in whatever he/she do in the job. It is also in a simple abbreviation of three-"C"s: capability, capacity, and culture. And to do that, remember that HR's role is to nurture the organization: imagine a tree, it all started from a seed and a small plant. HR enables leaders to grow that plant to become a tree that gives life to its surroundings. Due to the nature of the work, I also advise any HR talent to stay for a long-term, at least three years in any organization. Why? because you can only see how things unfold (re: plant become a tree) in terms of leaders you hire, capability you helped to create, the organization you have designed, or culture you facilitate to foster, through an average period of 3-years. I always wonder what would any HR person learned if he/she is jumping in and out of a company in less than three years, unless, there is no legacy that he/she is trying to make in the organization he/she is leading. So, if you are reading this, I assumed you are a true HR person that keen to create a legacy in your workplace. Then here's for you.
Now, imagine this. This is your first day coming to work in HR. Any HR person is usually being asked to help the business with so many questions, that if you don't have any framework in mind, would make you overwhelmed with the request. So this is the reason why I'm writing these insights for you.
"Can you please find me a great Marketeer in the market? hire me the best ones that will double the growth of my company", this is the type of question that is usually being asked to you. A similar type of ask will be like: "I don't think our people are digital-savvy enough to tap into a current market opportunity. We need to build e-Commerce functions asap. Do it for me ". And so on, and on, and on. All these questions are geared toward Capability: do your organization can create certain value?. These values can be in form of new processes, new products, new services, etc. And to answer that, it is usually a question of talent and skills. So then you need to think deeper to design the right solutions to the ask: do you need to source talent outside (buy), or do you want to transition certain internal talent to be re-trained for certain capability (build), or do you simply need to bring in external consultants or even freelancers to help (borrow). So, the capability is all about talent and skills. Look at my Capability blogs category to learn further many practical insights you can use.
"We need to reorganize customer service, as we need segment our clients to more categories now", this was the 'statement of needs' that usually comes from the business. Or the question would be like: "The business is not running fast enough, should we move our structure from big-corporate into multiple business units that can run faster independently?". These are questions about the Capacity of your organization. For a resource-rich organization, you can simply add headcounts and hire more people, now that looks easy!. Actually, even for a resource-rich organization, I would advise cautiously thinking before hiring many people as you might end up having a surplus of workforce and duplication of jobs that makes the organization complex, bureaucratic and slow. Think how ironic it is: you want to do things faster, therefore hiring more people, but you end up slower -- yet, you pay more. In the capacity discussion, organization design/modeling and organization development skills are what you need to sharpen. Look at my Capacity blogs category to learn further.
"My business is screwed up because people are fighting each other!", a CEO could say so. Or on the other extreme "Things are not happening in my company, because everyone simply not doing anything and blocks all changes I want to do!", another CEO could cry out loud. This is where Culture matters. Culture, in my view, is the most difficult one to crack. Because of Capability and Capacity, HR and CEO/Board can design things and drive their execution together, top-down. Now, culture is about building a movement. Any culture change must be done across and involve everyone in the organization. It is a big marathon run, not a sprint. And the issue of culture needs to be attacked at multiple fronts: Board plays a role model, teams need to be facilitated to embrace the new culture, and it has to be activated corporate-wide to ensure it becomes familiar and getting into certain 'rituals' that bring the culture to life. Ask any senior HR leader on "What was the biggest challenge they face?" - usually the answer is about transforming Culture.
Capability, Capacity, and Culture are what usually you will be asked to build/transform during your HR career. And the sooner you use this frame of thinking, the better you will be in building your legacy as an HR person.