In my professional activity as a Shaker, I have the chance to mingle with plenty of HR colleagues who work in different specialities and industries. Regardless of the size of their companies, they all share the same concerns: appraisal forms which nobody wants to fill in, training plans without any ROI, timeless leadership programmes (leadership is such an old-style concept nowadays) which do not bring anything new, digitalization / transformation / agile projects which pretend to be disruptive but in the end are delivered in the same boring way as other sessions … Everything leads to a bland portfolio which does not have a short-mid term operational benefit. As a result, HR influence and impact decreases. It’s kind of puzzling to realize that, even if HR has a genuine will of devising a professional, technically perfect product (internally or externally developed), we end up offering a tool which does not match the expectations of the final user, who cannot adopt it into his or her daily routine. I.e., we are launching products which, from the outset, are totally detached from their client.
The question is a very simple one: Who is HR’s client? Where is he/she? When was the last time we talked to him/her?
I cannot imagine a Marketing team launching a product without having previously led several focus group sessions, surveys, tests and review checks (following the inbound methodology) to forecast what the impact of such a product will be on sales. Marketing strives for this two-way communication with its external client, as they know it’s the only way to make the magic happen. HR has to do the same with the internal client.
Let’s think for a moment: How many co-workers participated in the creation of their own appraisal form? How many times, before launching new rewards, did we check with our final user which benefit was really interesting to him/her? How can we make sure, when hiring an expert to deliver a course or a talk, that he/she will be the perfect fit for the attendants and it will not just be “another talk”? (it still disappoints me when I see that the first contact of many companies with an expert is an email to ask about his/her fees instead of meeting the expert in person and exploring an eventual collaboration) … How many products, tools or projects are launched without taking into account the person at the end of the process?
During all these years working with people and organisations (20 if we put together my corporate and my entrepreneurial life), no product moved me, proved to be more useful and brought so much ROI as that which is co-created (partially or globally) by its final user. Certainly, maybe we are not talking about technically perfect tools (who cares about perfection if it’s useless for its client?), but they definitely are full of purpose and meaning for their user. Written in the user’s language. Matching the user’s needs. Useful. The closer HR will be to its client (what we call HR Consumerization), the more integrated we will be with his/her reality and, therefore, we will be more able to deliver efficient solutions. Now that we are starting to talk about Sexy HR, it’s compulsory to leave our desks behind to go where our client is. Because HR would only be relevant in strategy when we are present in the operations.