During this HR bashing season John Sumser has some great advice for HR:
- Be curious about the business.
- Measure stuff.
- Stop focusing on cost cutting and expense
- Free people to manage themselves
- Plan, Plan, Plan
I would add some more:
- Understand strategic drivers of the business and how does your work impact it. For example if the business makes wafer thin margins and relies on volumes to make it profitable then you have to look for and promote the manufacturing guy who can ensure the assembly line is selling always, the sales guy who can open large accounts as they are needed for the success for the business to succeed, not the research scientist or sales guy who takes time to open up accounts.
- Understand the way external industry is moving and therefore how people processes and practices would be impacted. Look at macro trends. Not the obvious trends. Everybody does that. Look at how consumer/customer/client preferences might be changing and therefore how it will impact strategic drivers. Also look at how 'best practices' are become hygiene factors - usually fast.
- Treat fads with scepticism. Infect that scepticism into your business leaders if they get swayed by the latest 'management gurus' and consultants. As an organizational behavior person you should know that every solution gives rise to a new set of issues and that there are no silver bullets as far as people issues are considered.