Develop Your Own State of the (HR) Union Address

Every year, the President of the United States makes an address to the nation. The purpose of the annual “State of the Union” address is to give an account of the year’s events and discuss the priorities of the coming months. If communicated properly, this is an opportunity to reach a larger audience, share major goals, and get buy-in from the constituency.

state-union-addressSo why don’t we give it a shot?

I think every HR pro needs to have their own State of the Union address within their own company, department, or team (depending on your level of responsibility). This is strategic HR communication at its best, and it could become a valuable tool for your leaders to peer into the inner workings of the HR team while allowing you to share your key results areas as well.

The need is there

If this doesn’t prove that there’s an opportunity here, then I don’t know what will:

Although large U.S. companies spend about 36 percent of their revenue on HR, most annual reports fail to mention HR operations and how they contribute to the bottom line. Results of a two-year analysis of the 100 largest publicly traded U.S. companies by Mercer Human Resource Consulting show that only 20 percent of these companies discuss HR in their reports to shareholders. About one-quarter provide only limited references to the workforce, and some don’t mention their employees at all. (source)

How big is your “union?”

As I stated above, depending on where you are in your organization’s hierarchy, you might only be addressing your HR teammates. Or maybe you have the ability to snag an audience with your key senior leadership team, and you’re willing to put together a short presentation for that group.

Whatever the case, the size and target audience will be different for everyone, but the tips below will still help you in defining what to discuss.

What to say

If you’ve been reading here for long, you probably have a few ideas on what you could discuss with your leadership team. (And if you haven’t, feel free to subscribe for free updates.) Here are a few ideas to consider.

  • Take the opportunity to discuss a few key areas that will impact the organization in the coming year (benefits and PPACA, for example).
  • Discuss the threats, opportunities, weaknesses, and strengths of the current HR team.
  • Share your priorities for the year ahead with regard to employee relations, training, or talent management.
  • If you are not a manager or lead, ask if you can help your manager develop one for your own team.
  • Use the platform to generate early buy-in for your ideas. (Here’s a stealth communication tip)
  • Demonstrate alignment of the HR function with the overarching corporate annual goals.

What are you waiting for?

This is your chance to get in front of a key audience (whether it’s the rest of your team or another influential group) and share your message.

What are you waiting for?

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