Seven Excuses for HR Leaders not doing the Strategic

So what is YOUR excuse for not doing the strategic?

OK, as an HR consultant who focuses on diversity and career development programs for corporate clients, it is time for me to vent. I so often hear human resources professionals I network with discuss how important their roles are in terms of the strategic success of their companies. One key area that often gets discussed is talent retention, engagement and development. As the number of baby boomers retiring is larger than new talent coming out of school, HR practitioners are worried about a labor shortage and retaining their top talent.

But then when it comes time to invest in cost effective low-effort initiatives to retain their talent, I hear excuse after excuse after excuse.

Here are my top 7:

1) I can’t focus on that now, we are in the middle of … (you name it – annual enrollment period, annual performance review cycle, etc.) Every month there is a different urgent item or a fire to put out. HR leaders need to make time to focus on the strategic.

2) I cannot get any budget for it. Yes, you do need to show a dollars and cents business case for any investment you make, and HR needs to be better with the financials. Especially for programs that reduces employee turnover, a strong business case with excellent return on investment is quite simple to make.
3) We are in the middle of a merger or acquisition. I get this one a lot. Business does not stop simply because you are integrating a new company into an existing one. Mergers and acquisitions are almost typical in business these days. In fact, a merger may be the ideal time to introduce some new programs that can bring both teams together. Read my previous blog on diversity, career development and mergers & acquisitions.

4) We just got new senior leadership. Another one I hear far too often. Again, business does not stop because new leadership is coming in. Instead of sitting on your hands and doing nothing, perhaps starting a new project that engages employees and improves morale will impress your new executive!

5) We just invested in a whole new HR system so can’t do anything else. Actually a good solution may be able to fold in well with a new HR system and may actually enhance it and drive additional employee usage. Be creative and keep your mind open about this.

6) We don’t use outside consultants. Often creative innovative solutions can be delivered by consultants far more cost effectively than hiring additional staff or overburdening your team. Plus if you are overwhelmed timewise (see excuse 1), a consultant can provide much needed help and focus.

7) This is not important to our strategy. Well – this is one excuse that can be accepted. If something does not tie to your strategy, you probably do not want to do it!

Five Tips and Best Practices for Engaging Senior Talent Through Job Sharing – Part 2

Rev Elder Dr. Nancy Wilson and Rev. Vickie Miller are two experienced pastors featured in the job sharing case study in part 1 of this blog.

Many of us continue to read about the growing labor shortage across the US, especially as the number of younger trained professionals entering the workforce is far less that the huge numbers of retiring “baby boomers” born between 1946 – 1965. One way of addressing this shortage is better utilization of the mature worker, many who may not be ready for full retirement.

Great ways of utilizing this excellent source of skilled resource is part time work or sharing a full time position between two or more part time mature workers. In part 1 of this series, I presented a case study of a church in Florida which recently hired two part-time pastors to fill what was initially publicized as a single full time senior pastor position.

Please read part 1 – this interview with Rev. Dr. Nancy Wilson, one of the pastors who took half of this senior pastor job.

Now I would like to offer five tips / best practices / advantages for hiring two part people to fill one full time position, the first four coming from the case study shared in the blog part 1:

1) Seek complementary skills from the two candidates. Take advantage of this opportunity of getting two people for the price of one. When hiring one single person, you may often need to weigh each candidate’s strengths and weaknesses to another, but with two people, you can bring in two different sets of skills and also cover the weaknesses one person may have.

2) Do make sure that both people can team well and work together. In some cases, the two candidates may have a prior working or personal relationship and know they can work together. In other cases, you may need to interview the two candidates together and also contact references to specifically discuss how well each person works with others.
3) Realize that the cost may be a little more than the original budget for the one person. Often mature experienced workers will required a somewhat higher pay than an inexperienced person, and each may want to work a little more than 20 hours a week. But you may also save some on benefits (employees over 65 could be on Medicare), and you will probably get a lot more value in terms of knowledge, hard work and dedication from these employees

4) Have a plan in place in case one of the pair leaves or retires. You could ask that each person give you two months notice before leaving as part of the agreement to give you time to backfill. You could also ask the remaining part timer to work full time temporarily to pick up the slack, and also involve them in the hiring process of the new “second half.”

5) In addition to seeking outside candidates, consider the mature workers you currently have on board. Some may welcome a shared part time position as an ideal transition between working full time and full time retirement.

Do think creatively! I do hope this two part series is both inspirational and practical in terms of addressing alternatives to employment resources.