HR Chess Anyone?

A lot of startups and small businesses I have worked with and know, go into business without a proper people strategy. They will get sales, marketing finance and other specialty roles but more often than not treat HR like an afterthought not getting an HR leader in their business for some time.

HR is more than just recruiting and administration. I see HR as a strategic business partner. Much like a game of chess, HR needs to formulate the right people strategy and winning formula for success. It’s about understanding the strength of each piece individually and how they can help your game collectively. Importantly, when and how to use each piece...

In the early stages its about strategically coordinating and designing your organisation as the business grows. What are the strengths of your people? What motivates them? Do they understand the organisations why, its purpose, goals and objectives? Hence the importance of HR's role. They can help with the what, why and how by creating the organisational framework.

HR can also help inculcate the principles and values the organisation lives by and how it does things...creating a culture of trust, accountability and a sense of purpose. Importantly, help bring people and teams together.

It's important to note that they should not be doing the job of the organisations leaders or have the burden of culture resting solely on their shoulders. Firstly, it's a collective effort but often, in an effort to be seen, heard or viewed as important, they take on more responsibilities than they should, creating a silo for themselves and protecting their work.

Other times, its leaders not wanting to take on the responsibilities of leadership so they pass it on to HR. I don't agree with that. I think HR should be developing and up-skilling leaders to be the best people and culture advocates in the organisation and yes, it may seem that it effectively makes HR's role redundant but the day to day should never have sat with HR.

I believe leaders should be doing the hiring, firing and setting the tone for their teams within the overarching people strategy that HR have set. This allows for employees to manage up directly with their leaders rather than going to HR to help solve their problems. In turn this allows leaders to learn how to deal with conflict and develop + improve in these leadership areas. Leaders should be managing the day to day with their teams not HR.

That's why I believe that majority of HR have not moved into a more strategic role. They're bogged down with admin. I also believe you need the right business owners and CEO's who see the value of HR because they should be working alongside the organisations leaders from the very beginning to help formulate the people strategy early on. Then they should empower the organisation and its leaders by providing the tools, development training, resources and data (yes data) to help their leaders shine...serving their leaders and the people they lead.

Otherwise it’s just a constant revolving door of people and leaders not knowing what to do, and how they’re helping the organisation or worse, a toxic culture of blame and lost productivity. Wasting more money and energy than you would have hiring a proper strategic HR leader.

Are you ready to take your people and chess strategy to the next level? I'm ready when you are.

- Joana x

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