Courageous HR – Human Resource Professionals Should Be Dynamic, Impactful Leaders

Last week, I went to my monthly Raleigh-Wake Human Resource Management Association (RWHRMA) luncheon meeting and experienced a superb inspirational speaker. Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., past National SHRM chairman, past senior HR executive at major firms, and current President & CEO of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) presented “Courageous HR: The New Imperative.” (Link to Johnny’s speaking page.) Professionals in the Human Resources field left the meeting invigorated by the message that we can (and should) have a profound positive impact within our organizations.

Nationally recognized speaker – Johnny C Taylor, Jr.

He started by painting the compelling picture of why strong HR leaders are needed now more than ever in organizations: 84% of workers in a recent survey stated they intend to leave their current jobs when the economy improves, 1 in 3 will leave their jobs regardless, and 20% have a negative view of their jobs and have already “check out.” My own analysis: these kind of dismal statistics will have a highly negative impact on employee productivity and hence our entire economy. Something needs to be done!

Johnny summarized the various ways that HR leaders should courageously lead and think “outside the box:”

1. Recruiting which focuses on the finding the right person who truly fits a job opening and with the corporate culture.
2. Rewarding the true stars, the highest contributors. It is not about equality, it is about fairness. Those who contribute significantly more to the company’s success should be rewarded significantly more. And the rewards should not only be monetary, but creative and meaningful perks can also highly motivate employees
3. Intelligently invest in employee development. Employee development programs should not be delivered uniformly to all employees. They should be targeted. Train employees and develop leaders. Not everyone wants to be or can be a leader, so leadership development should be delivered to the right audience.
4. Truly love and engage the employees. Communicate to them honestly. Don’t hide and withhold information. Conduct relevant meaningful employee satisfaction or engagement surveys and use the information to take action. And finally eliminate stupid rules.

My own closing thoughts. First, we all can have much more fulfilling jobs if we can visualize how what we do can significantly impact our organizations. Go for it!

Second, consider contacting me to talk about how my career development / career road mapping services can be one meaningful program for your enterprise that can truly engage your human talent, making your employees more enthused and productive on the job.

The Business Case for Diversity

One of the three core expertise areas I offer in my consulting practice is diversity management with a specialization in the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) workplace and marketplace. Earlier this week I published a similar blog on another area of expertise titled “The Business Case for Career Road Mapping / Skills Development.” Click on that title to link to the article.

Senior corporate leaders and stockholders expect to see a financially based business case for practically any business initiative, and this of course would include corporate diversity programs. Can I show with actual dollars how investing in diversity initiatives (for example, targeted constituency marketing, benefits programs, management training, sponsoring employee network groups, supporting community organizations, targeted recruiting…) can add to a company’s bottom line? Absolutely yes! I agree this is important and can be done.

Many studies on diversity management highlight that robust diversity initiatives positively impact employee engagement / employee productivity, employee retention, and constituency sales. As an example, I will use LGBT diversity programs since that is my area of specialization within diversity management, though the methodology could easily be used for any other constituency (Women, Black, Hispanic, Asian …) or even for cross-constituency programs.

For this example, I will use a 2,000 person business with an average employee salary of $40,000 and annual revenue of $250M. And I will conservatively estimate that 6% of employees and business revenue is from the LGBT constituency.

PRODUCTIVITY CALCULATION: number of employees x constituency percentage x average salary x percent productivity gain = productivity gain in $. For example, with 2000 employees with 6% being LGBT, salaries of $40,000 per year, a 5% productivity gain nets 2000 x .06 x $40,000 x .05 or $240,000.

ATTRITION SAVINGS: number of employees x constituency percentage x average salary x time for fully onboarding new employees x decrease in attrition percentage = saving in attrition $. For example, again using 2000 employees at $40,000, if it take 2/3rds of a year for onboarding and you can avoid 5% of the LGBT population from departing, the savings is 2000 x .06 x $40,000 x 2/3 x .05 or $160,000.

REVENUE GAIN: annual revenue x constituency percentage x percent increase in constituency sales = potential revenue gain. For this example with $250M in revenue, the potential net new revenue from a 5% increase in LGBT market share would be $250M x .06 x .05 = $750,000.

So overall in this case, bottom line we are looking at executing LGBT diversity programs providing a net expense savings of $400,000 and net new revenue of $750,000 to the business.

In addition you would get the “soft” benefits of overall higher employee morale, being able to attract the best talent as word spreads and your enterprise is viewed as an “employer of choice,” and overall community good will.