I have spent the last 50 or so days speaking with dozens of HR pros (more than 50 now, but the number worked for the title so I ran with it!) and the takeaways I’ve had are pretty incredible.
The gist of it: one of the research projects me and my team have been working on this summer was researching employers with 1,000 or fewer employees. Another was around compensation technology, which involved conversations with companies in the 1,000 to 10,000 range.
These all came with conversations to understand challenges, opportunities, and more, but what I really loved was getting to hear the unique stories of each professional, company, and culture. Here are the ten things I know as a result of talking to dozens of people like YOU:
- HR tech is part of your job performance. We’re all using some kind of tools for payroll, benefits administration, recruiting, etc. This stuff isn’t just something we grab off the shelf–it’s an enabler of our performance on a daily/weekly/monthly basis. It helps us get the job done, which is really cool when you think about it.
- We love and hate it :-) That said, sometimes the tech doesn’t work or function the way we want it to. It’s life. When it’s not saving our skin it’s giving us a headache.
- We love creating the right environment for our people. SO many of the HR pros I spoke with have unique and interesting ideas for how to support their teams, connect them with the mission of the firm, and build an inclusive, exciting culture. I’ll be interviewing one of these people in the next few weeks on the podcast to talk about how to engage remote teams and keep them connected, so stay tuned for more.
- We can’t create value if we are treading water with administrative busywork all the time. Our insights on the HR-employee ratio have shown us that that drives strategic activity. HR wants to be strategic but has 1,000 employees to every HR pro? Strategy won’t happen because you’re just treading water. HR wants to be strategic and you have a ratio of 75 employees to each HR pro? Now you’re in the driver’s seat for success.
- High-performing companies have a higher ratio of HR staff to employees (and more HR technology). Essentially they just put more budget towards the people side of the business. Kind of like this best place to work winner. FYI, “high-performing” companies aren’t the cool ones like Google or Facebook, they’re everyday firms like yours that have positive metrics in employee engagement, retention, and revenue.
- Most of you are very creative and looking for ways to improve the employee experience. In the last couple years the “” has become a recurring theme. These conversations showed me that you are trying to create that on a regular basis for your own teams. It’s not just about getting payroll done or running a performance process but about how to do those things in a way that differentiates us from the competition.
- I am personally thankful for each one and what they bring to the professional community. Wow. You are all doing amazing work but it’s often unsung internally. Some of the people I spoke with were getting the accolades internally but others were not. If you are, keep up the amazing work. If you’re not getting recognized, make sure you are doing the work that aligns to the business and getting the results/metrics out in front of the right stakeholders.
- We love our certifications but we also hate the struggles we have between which one is the best for recertification credits.
- We may have gotten into the job on purpose or entirely by accident but that doesn’t change our vision for what HR can be and do for the business and its people. No matter the path that led the person to the role they are currently in (or what led you to the role you are in), that should not and typically does not change your vision for a high-impact, highly relevant HR function that creates value for the people and the business.
- This is the best profession there is! All the time and effort I’ve put into helping people get into HR, whether they have education in this space or they are coming from another profession, has shown me that we attract some of the very best people from across the world of business. Yes, we occasionally get the person that’s crusty, cantankerous, and disinterested in creating the right environment for workforce success, but they are few and far between.
Keep up the great work, everyone. Honored to know so many of you and to be able to work with you!