3Because so few companies have inspired HR practices, those that do enjoy an enormous competitive advantage. Unfortunately, all too many businesses don't take advantage of this opportunity. Here's why:
  1. Cultivating great HR practices must be an "inside-out" job. I've reached this conclusion after coaching and working with hundreds of HR executives over the years. Those who believe, achieve. There are a number of reasons why someone might not believe that they're capable of producing great HR practices:
    • They don't have the skill set. If that's the case, they can learn one critical aspect of HR at a time and implement this expertise. Most people can only do things one step at a time anyway.
    • They don't feel they have the time it takes to improve HR practices. The solution is to make the time. Great HR practices offer a cost-effective return on investment. I advise HR executives to save at least five hours a week by outsourcing or delegating these activities, so they can in turn devote this time to strategic activities.
    • They don't believe they have the support of top management. When it comes to business owners, nothing is more important than demonstrating the potential ROI of good HR practices. This is why we've created the HR Cost Calculator. I start my CEO workshops with an hour-long review of this form so that participants understand the math surrounding their HR practices.
  2. Private companies, unlike their publicly held counterparts, aren't required to have anything but basic compliance. There's no Board of Directors demanding that they get their HR act together; as a result, most privately-held firms do little or no real HR.
  3. HR professionals don't get managers on their side. Begin by surveying them. HR That Works members can use the HR Department Survey to have managers rank specific practices and comment on opportunities for improvement.
  4. Failing to educate everyone in the company about the opportunities that a good HR program offers them. Learn to let people know the progress you've made every month and how this impacts best practices and the bottom line. Show that your HR practices are better than those of the competition.
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