HRA Blog

Sobering Advice for HR

Written by Barbara Irwin on .

Recently, Deloitte released their annual Human Capital Trends Report, their annual study of HR, leadership, and talent challenges compiled using data from surveys and interviews taken by 3,300+ HR and business leaders in 106 countries around the world. The report, as always, is chocked full of really terrific information and insights. If you have a few minutes, the executive summary and accompanying infographic are great reads.

One of the biggest things that struck me from this year’s report was some shot across the bow for the HR profession. Reskilling HR came in as the fourth most important talent issue for the year, with business leaders rating HR’s performance 20 percent lower than HR leaders’ ranking. So basically, our bosses, are telling us we’re not doing a good job.

For the most part, Deloitte put it bluntly, HR is just not keeping up with the pace of business and a reskilling of HR professionals while reinventing the role of HR is becoming critical.

Those are some extremely serious warning signs for those of us in the HR profession. However, the need represents an incredible opportunity for those in the HR field to take charge of this and offer some strategy around how to possibly mitigate this issue.

But where do organizations start? Deloitte offers the following advice:

  • Redesign HR with a focus on consulting and service delivery, not just efficiency of administration. HR business partners must become trusted business advisors with the requisite skills to analyze, consult, and resolve critical business issues.


  • Rather than locating HR specialists in central teams, embed them into the business — but coordinate them by building a strong network of expertise. Recruitment, development, employee relations, and coaching are all strategic programs that should be centrally coordinated but locally implemented.


  • Make HR a talent and leadership magnet … Create rigorous assessments for top HR staff and rotate high performers from the business into HR to create a magnet for strong leaders.


  • Invest in HR development and skills as if the business depended on it … Focus on capabilities such as business acumen, consulting and project management skills, organizational design and change, and HR analytical skills.

Yes, businesses are moving at lightning speed, technology is rapidly advancing and employee talent needs are through the roof in an effort to stay competitive. At times it may seem overwhelming, but, this is our time, these are concrete suggestions and I for one will be evaluating ways to implement some of theme in my processes and methodologies.



That Kid’s Got Upper Middle Management Written All Over Him…Management Development in Today’s Workforce

Written by Tiffany Aukema on .

Great humor can be found in bad management.  Hollywood and pop culture has certainly capitalized on workplace rituals and the absurdity of particular management styles. The Office seems like it will always be relevant and let’s not forget about my personal favorite, the 1999 classic, Office Space.  The comic strip Dilbert, which has been spawned several books, a television show, a video game and countless merchandise items, highlights the “joys” of micromanagement and workplace misery.

While we can all have a good laugh watching Michael Scott’s latest antics, when you are an employee working for a bad manager, there is nothing funny about it.  Aside from adversely affecting employee morale, a bad manager is costly to an organization in many ways.

Why is it that there are so many bad managers?   Most importantly, how do organizations appropriately use resources to develop good managers?

I don’t believe anyone sets out to be a bad manager.  Although we all follow different paths, in the end, most of us try our best to excel in our field and “move up.” The “moving up” is where the problem begins.

In addition to learning the core skills which are needed to succeed in jobs, good managers must have crucial leadership skills. But where did employees pick up the skills to lead and manage if they weren’t taught during the initial training and education for the position?  Simply because an employee is good at their profession, doesn’t mean they are naturally gifted to lead.

This is where organizations can take steps to help.  While many employers spend a great deal of resources on recruiting and on-boarding and continue their efforts with skills training and career development, many miss the opportunity to focus on management development training.

Some suggestions.

  1. Create a manager on-boarding training program: Similar to a new hire on-boarding program, organizations should create a new manager training program and require all staff who move into a management position to complete the program. The orientation can be quite time consuming, up to 18 months for an external hire and 12 months for those hired within, but the time invested will prove beneficial in the end. The training should include, but not be limited to, performance management, dealing with conflict, interviewing and recruiting, and effective communication. New managers should learn and understand all HR processes and policies. Assign your new manager a peer mentor – someone who can help with the learning curve of effectively dealing with people.
  2. Build relationships: New managers should be required to dedicate time to building relationships. They should seek to understand the challenges of their team and the current set of priorities. Scheduling one-on-one meetings with staff and colleagues is an effective way to gain insight into the team and build trust.
  3. Lead by example: As organizations groom good managers, they will be able to lead by example and prove to staff that good leadership is an esteemed value within the organization. New managers will have mentors and will better understand the expectations of their role.
  4. Address poor management as you would poor performance: Don’t allow poor management to continue. Organizations are often quick to address performance issues, such as low production or lack of accuracy, but are reluctant to address poor leadership. Effective and positive management is an expectation of the position and should be addressed as any other performance issue.
  5. Reward good management: Don’t simply address poor management, applaud fantastic management that can be showcased and replicated by other managers!

Employers should not underestimate the power of a good manager.  When I speak to colleagues about their most rewarding work experiences, they are often tied to good management.  Retain your best and brightest by giving them the benefit of a good manager, leader, and mentor.  It is a worthwhile investment.