Commercial drive - Lesson 3: your reflections

Welcome to the online community learning space for the lesson: Focusing on business outcomes. Use this forum to discuss the community reflective activity in the lesson. Read the contributions of others, ‘liking’ those you find helpful and add your unique reflections to the conversation by replying to this post. Click here to return to the lesson page at any time.

Community reflective activity: 
How do you keep yourself up to date with business goals and outcomes and demonstrate sustained value to the organisation through your practice? Share your approach on the forum.

  • I think this is an interesting question to reflect upon. I suspect that if you are doing this well, you are doing it seamlessly as part of your work, and that there may be things that you routinely do or outcomes that you have helped to achieve, that are just part of what you do.
    Also, demonstrating sustained value can be challenging unless your organisation has advanced and tailored information and measurement systems. I have worked in places where all the targets are met on paper and everything looks like it has been achieved successfully, yet underneath this I know that little value has been added. Equally, I have worked in places where there is a lot of value added from HR , L&D and other activities from the People Function such as Organisational Development, yet it is either not measured, poorly measured, or the most senior leadership is focusing on something else (public sector examples.)
    How the value is defined measured and by whom is also a critical issue. So to return to the example of workforce planning in the video, HR has to be immersed in both the operations of the business and in the strategy to understand what is happening now and future goals (where we are now and where we need to get to). We need to understand this in our wider sector as well, so we fully understand its direction and emerging issues, then apply this to our range of activities. Examples may be having a thorough understanding of the local and national recruitment market, skills shortages, pay trends etc. Others are being ready for regulatory changes e.g. in the UK, IR35 rule changes for contractors, which is very significant if you use a lot of private contractors or casual workers in your core workforce, or changes to apprenticeship funding. This requires a high level of communication within the business, the ability to ask critical and constructive questions, to listen to and analyse the answers. We also need to access the wealth of external information available to us in a discerning manner - when so much is now easy to access on line e.g. CIPD Labour Market Outlook Surveys, Office for National Statistics (ONS) data and that from other reputable sources. There is no excuse to not be up to speed with trends in your sector and related to your current and future workforce, anymore.
    If HR have been ahead of the game, understand their organisation's strategic goals, can do workforce planning that supports these and incorporates future regulatory or sector changes, we can demonstrate added value. It is in our gift, if we are working in this way, to design or at least influence the design of the key performance outcomes that will be used to measure our value.
  • In this lesson is clear that the good part of HRs time is focused on analysing the forces that are shaping and will shape the future of the organisation. Whether is organisation expanding the market or changes within the country and Government, the HR whether L&D or OD will have a n unique opportunity to make a difference within the organisation.
    Regularly challenging organisation’s strengths and analysing it’s weaknesses using SWOT, or what are external factors changing the business’s environments using PESTLE or similar methods, will help HRM understand what is to be improved within the org, but also what are the areas within the org to be first affected by the external changes. Staying up to date with these changes within the organisation’s is crucial to HRM success, and I would suggest to use HRIS to measure and analyse the data available. This will help have relevant information that will go through the top management in a more effective, facts backed, way. 

  • Thinking of the case study, and their goal to move to online presence and changing the branches to selling financial services such as mortgages etc., a big part of the workforce planning will also be looking at what skills are transferable and where there are possibilities to upskill or retrain employees. Having the right people with the right skills in the right place etc., also includes the right place at the right cost. HR's value will come from finding the talent that is needed to meet the business needs but also in the value add they can give the communities and employees who will no longer feature in the new world. The case study reminded me that stakeholders are often not financial such as employees and the community. The community is very likely to be the people that the bank will be looking to sell its financial services to.
  • In reply to Sandra Madigan:

    I agree. Thinking about working in other geographies and culture differences the strategy may need to address the optimisation of home country and host country resources to manage the differences also.
  • Outcomes and value. I really like the point Gemma makes in the video about not jumping into solution mode. The 'stuff' you are comfortable with. We know in any context, but particularly today, things are moving fast and need to respond to todays needs. So listening and observing what people are saying the business outcomes are and responding what the data says is key. What is the business really wanting to achieve? A recent book I read is the Boron Letters by Gary Halbert. He referred to the need to look at the facts as people wont necessarily say what they do (hence the importance of data). So as an example he said. If you ask a group of students whether they prefer to go to the theatre than the cinema. Most put their hand up. Then ask them how many have been to the theatre or the cinema in the last 7 days little responded to the theatre option and lots responded to the cinema option. So be careful what appears on the outside and look below the surface to allowing yourself to see what is really wanted. What is the market saying for the industry you are working in and where best can I and my team fit into this?
  • This is much easier in a co-owned business where often, plenty of channels exist to keep stakeholders informed & give them the opportunity to feed back. It strikes me that, if, no such networks exist, establishing & maintaining them (if appropriately within your remit) could be a very powerful way to demonstrate sustained value to your business
  • In 2018 last quarter I observed the way my new company objectives (turned to individual bonus targets) handling method. Some few observations are:

    • Objectives are mail to all employees. 
    • Individual targets set in to employees by their managers which were not SMART enough and lack clarity to both the parties.
    • In December, all line managers just fill the papers and the performance analysis represents very small reality to that actual. 

    In 2019, i convinced my manager that the objectives of the organization need to tracked & updated to employees on regular basis. Our General Manager conducted 2 open meetings with employees to update on the company objectives. I am happy that I could take this issue to GM and made him understand the necessity of giving the feedback to employees. I collect all data from other department and prepared a presentation to GM. 

    • So, going extra mile makes a difference to create or add value to the organization.

    I would like to continue to support organization in improving the qualitative aspect of the handling objectives and aligned with individual objectives.

    • All above activities given a chance to me to improve professionally.
  • In reply to Murali:

    Whilst this lesson was rather basic (I would like to think HR doesn't act without doing so in alignment with the business' strategy and goals in this day and age and if they did then I don't hold up much hope for their longer-term survival ) I did get a lot from the article in the additional reading by Eugene Burke (Why organisations need to up their game on understanding, measuring and leveraging human capital) and especially the table on understanding non-financial value (from the inside and outside) and the need to get others to seriously think about and measure this and using the resultant data to inform decisions, even better when the low cost of simply changing management practices can have a disproportion\ate effect on success, revenue and profitability.

    I also liked the point made about engagement surveys and the tendency to take the results at face value and just aim to get a higher score next time rather than use the results to identify and evaluate risk to the business and target this for further action.

    I will certainly be taking these two lessons learned forward and will ask some probing questions.
  • In reply to James:

    Hello Murali the measures leveraging in the use of human capital, products and services is useful to strategically plan ahead when a business model is in place and is transparent to everyone 'user friendly'. Engagement involving individuals whether an individual teams and groups is essential to commit to involvement and motivation to grow the business and achieve the outcomes to accomplish individual and business goals. Raw data and information converted into targets sets paces to attain.