Signs, Signs, Everywhere Signs…. Sometimes, there are signs all around us. Occasionally, we pay attention and heed the warning. Other times, we walk right on by. When it comes to our jobs and our teams, we can’t ignore the signs. We need to pay attention and take action. When you’re in HR, we are often so focused on helping the business that we push our own teams aside or are willing to work around pockets or people that no longer are working. If any of the following 5 signs resonate within your team, it may be time for a makeover.
1. Complacency is the fastest way to stall progress and innovation. In Human Resources it’s easy to become complacent when “that’s just the way we’ve always done it.” While this truism spans all departments within a company, it is especially true in HR because there are so many functional areas that have legacy standards and processes. To stay relevant and impactful, HR teams need to ensure they are staying current on best practices and trends of change. An inward focus or being paralyzed from fear will not deliver the results required to make your team a competitive advantage to drive the business forward. On an individual level, growth begets growth and encouraging that growth collectively across the board will bring everyone up, rather than reducing to the lowest common denominator.
If you’re just realizing your team needs a refresh, you’re welcome; if you’ve known this was the case for a long time and felt in denial, it’s okay. It’s never too late to become an agent of change and create expectations of excellence within your HR organization.
It can be daunting to try and get people out of their comfort zone for the sake of improvement, but it is worth it.
2. The second sign to be aware if you and your team spend most of your time “rescuing” and only a small amount of time coaching leaders within the business. It’s easy to go in and solve a problem because it just needs to get done. The better approach is to empower your leaders through consistent coaching throughout the year. Developing your leaders’ competency will increase their confidence in being able to mitigate issues and solve their own problems before they become overwhelming and want to push it off to HR to remedy. Additionally, this consultative approach establishes and reinforces the relationship you have with your leaders as a true partnership while competencies that will have exponential impact.
3. The third sign your team needs a reboot is your team is focused only on the HR functional priorities and disconnected from the overall business strategy. The pace of business is only going to continue to accelerate as technology creates greater operational efficiencies. Likewise, an HR team must evolve and grow with their company to continue to provide relevant and important services. Maintaining constant connection to the business strategy and priorities will help your team provide value in the areas that matter most to its stakeholders. Knowing where your HR team can make impact to the business will also help you ensure HR is adding value in important decisions and conversations. When the C-Suite trusts HR to bring solutions to the forefront that are thought through and look at the overall business’ best interest it creates a spirit of solidarity that is invaluable in an organization’s leadership culture.
4. When priorities shift and the team’s first reaction is fear, anger or uneasiness that’s the fourth sign change is needed. Their reaction often has nothing to do with the actual shift in priorities; the reaction is from not understanding WHY priorities shifted. This takes work from HR leadership to be as transparent as possible and provide context. We recommend establishing a best practice of holding quarterly all hands meetings, at a minimum, to touch base with your team on where you are at with priorities and a score card to track progress to goals. It’s a perfect time to announce how you are going to course-correct if needed, celebrate successes, and keep the team motivated to see tasks through to the next milestone. It also means they know you are willing to listen to them too. Don’t be afraid to ask your team what they think about the shift in priorities. Is there anything that concerns them? This provides you with an opportunity to level-set expectations and deescalate any anxiety or fear.
5. The fifth sign your team could use a makeover is when team meetings are awkwardly silent. It’s like pulling teeth to get people to contribute. Creating a team culture where people feel valued and have a voice is essential to growth and inclusion. High performing HR teams best operate when they can freely collaborate without fear of judgment or retaliation. Empowering your team members to take an active role in team meetings and to come prepared with talking points to communicate their opinion shows their contribution to the meeting matters, and you expect them to come prepared to participate. We operate in an email-heavy culture it’s easy to hide behind a screen. This makes our in-person meetings that much more valuable and a perfect opportunity to build rapport, grow confidence, and provide team members with an audience to share their expertise.
While there are more signs we could share from our collective experience to illuminate why your HR Team may need a makeover, it’s important to embrace that change is good. It’s necessary. We are not recommending you let go of your entire staff and hire a whole new team or make drastic changes just for the sake of change. We challenge you to proactively think about the people, processes and tools that could use some TLC. Recognize that you, the company and the rest of the team deserve to have a high performing HR function that is solid across the board.
Don’t wait until the next performance management review cycle to start making shifts in the right direction. Start by setting aside an hour on your calendar next week to think about what three areas where you can make an impact over the next 90 days, and what three areas may require longer-term strategies for improvement.
We’d love to hear from you and help you navigate how to grow your team into a high-performance collective of HR professionals. Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow us on social media.