The Way of the Past, HR Goals in Search of a Problem

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In some of my courses and coaching conversations, I’ve received the question, how do you sell HR solutions to business leaders so that there’s buy-in for the programs and services we offer?  Or How do I get my business leader on-board with to this new HR initiative that we’re rolling out?  If we’re asking these questions, we’re starting from the wrong place.

I had the pleasure of talking with a CHRO of a company here in Atlanta.  In our discussion, he shared a story about a branding initiative that the marketing team wanted to undertake.  They were making a pitch to refresh the brand, new logo, new look, all with the intent of creating greater sales.  He mentioned to the team, the way you generate greater sales is by completely aligning and delivering on your customers’ needs.  When you provide a solution to an important problem, the brand, the new logo, the fresh new colors, matter little.  Who wouldn’t want to work with you, your company, your team if you delivered on the issues that were most critical to their organization?

I LOVED this story, and it so nicely connects with the work that we do as HR professionals.  What if we delivered solutions that were tightly coupled with the business problem?  What would our business leaders think about the recommendations that we were making?  My assertion is they would be all over it!  Businesses are about delivering value to the customers they serve.  When we enable that, our solutions ARE business solutions!  No tee-shirt needed, no refresh or branding of our function, by our actions, we set the stage for the value that we bring.

So, in your next one on one meeting or business team meeting, listen closely for the problem.  What business issue is top of mind and in need of solving?  Then consider, what are the people implications, and what can you and your team do to address the concerns raised?

 Next, re-think your HR goals and solutions.  Review what you’ve committed to for the year, and ask yourself these questions.  What business problem will these initiatives solve?  With success, what is the impact or outcome expected for the business?  How will I measure success?  By asking yourself these questions, you’ll be able to determine if your goals are HR goals in search of a business problem or if your HR solutions ARE business solutions!


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Quionna Allen is the Founder and Managing Partner of Caldwell Allen Coaching and Consulting, a firm that specializes in the development and advancement of Human Resources.   Caldwell Allen’s goal is to align talent development strategies with business objectives, ultimately delivering outcomes that matter to both the individual and the organization. Quionna gracefully combines curiosity, compassion, and laser focus on ACTION to yield results for her clients.  

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