Spin the Bottle – How HR Better Start Taking Risks

Remember that cute little blonde you had a crush on when you were ten but were to shy to approach or even kiss during that awkward game of spin the bottle. Well you're a big boy know so you better start taking action, especially if you're in Human Resources otherwise some big finance guy is going to waltz right in and sweep Blondie off her feet. It’s time for action.

If you believe the status quo will remain in HR, your wrong. Times are a changing and if you want to stay ahead of the proverbial curve, start paying attention to the business executives. Human Resources is being outsourced and the pace of outsourcing will continue to increase as corporate CFO’s look at value creation in companies.  So what can you do? Here are a few thoughts:

1. Start making HR a business center

HR can help the business be more successful and it should have the metrics to back it up. Engage business executives by showing that you understand their business and that HR can be a participating partner by engaging in strategy development.

  1. Have a call center approach, track all phone calls and get back to people ASAP.
  2. Have meaningful people business metrics (developed with the executives), not just HR metrics, communicate them often.
  3. For important business initiatives track them like projects (goals, metrics, cost, outcomes), but please keep the PMP's out of there. Keep it simple.
  4. Track your % HR cost vs. % Total Company Costs. Are you making progress at lowering your costs year in year out?

2. Be business centric first

You need to focus on business strategy and everything you do needs to help the business succeed as long as it respects company culture and drives the companies talent management strategy.

  1. Be at the business table, knowledgeable and willing to engage and commit.
  2. Take risks by engaging your team in helping deliver on business goals and objectives.
  3. Measure your progress and communicate to business leaders often.

3. Focus on culture

HR must be the lead with the CEO and corporate executives on driving a culture of excellence. This is job one.  You can do this by:

  1. Using social media to engage the workforce in helping the company increase revenues by engaging with clients and candidates.
  2. Get to the table with Communication and Public Relations to get the right messages out. This rarely happens but is key to helping the culture message be consistent.
  3. Hire and fire based on company culture, no exceptions.
  4. By aggressively eliminating, reducing and simplify paperwork, policies and process across the company. Employees want to get things done, not wallow in process and procedures.  Provide the legal crap in an addendum to the simple forms or process.

4. Talent is still a key focus

Attracting, developing and retaining the best talent is critical to the innovation engine of the company.

  1. Use social media to engage your employees to spread the word on why its great to work for your company.
  2. Launch a revamped aggressive and tailor-made Employee Referral Program
  3. Simplify your web-career page, no more than two clicks to sending a resume
  4. Have your team actually engage and talk to candidates (a novel idea).

5. Outsource functions that are legal and process bound

Some things are best done from outside the corporate walls. Look at things like:

  • labour relations
  • conflict management
  • compensation
  • and benefits and administration

Do your own analysis based on your business model and needs. Do it or have someone else decide for you.

6. Be innovative and take risks

The above will get you underway but a true HR leader knows their business better than anyone else and must innovate and create new opportunities for their company to thrive in. To do so they must take risks and spin the bottle. Just remember that once you have spun the bottle and it points to a destination, you must take the leap and embrace it.


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Comment by FREYJA P. on November 8, 2011 at 11:36am

Francois - you've written about a whole delicious pie, and I'd like to comment on just one slice that I see over and over again. Point four of number four.

At their request, I recently did a presentation to a Company in my area of expertise that I respect but have never worked with. They explained they don't work with Recruiters but now see us as an option. After using their own methods for a year to fill positions - they've come up with zero and don't understand why.


They are a great company, good benefits, competitive, etc. Nothing unusual for their requirements for their industry..blah blah..Then I asked about their hiring process - pretty standard also. And finally I asked how long it would take - provided I brought them a top notch candidate - from "first touch" to offer.


Their answer?  Three months. Three months? Seriously? Yup - could not see a problem with that at all. Were astounded to hear I saw a month max to keep a candidate engaged until the close. 


What's it going to take to get HR people to see/hear that hiring is just not about them or the company?

Comment by Francois Guay on November 9, 2011 at 10:26am


Thanks for sharing. It's amazing that companies still live in the dark ages and take so long to hire. Good candidates dissapear rather quickly, definetely no more than a month, preferrably two weeks max. If a company can be so careless about its hiring it's definetely going to be as careless with customers. So not a company most people want to work for.


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