HR Mission Statement

I’m working on developing an HR Mission Statement for myself and company and came up with this one:

The mission of the HR Department is to support the company’s business objectives and financial goals by delivering strategic HR Management and excellent customer service to all functions of the company.

Respect for HR

I came across this blog post – Why Do We Seem to Hate All the Things that Make HR Great – on TLNT over the weekend.

I can tell you I don’t hate the things that make HR great.  Having been a General Manager for Macys for approximately 15 years, I found the soft skills and people smarts are what made me and my management style effective and productive.  A critical part of being a “business person” is to have the soft skills.  Peter Drucker has been writing about just such skills since the 1930s and those who read and practice his recommendations are usually very successful.  I understand that there are many in management who don’t consider the soft skills important but that is to their determent.

HR needs to embrace those soft skills and have the courage practice and promote them every chance we get with those in the the other parts of the business.  We should never apologize for being HR and should take our roles as strategic contributors seriously.  We need to speak up when we see something that needs to be addressed from an HR standpoint.  We need to be just as assertive and confident as those in Accounting, Finance, IT, and Management.

We need to act like we belong because we do.

This is re-posted from

HR’s Role in Business Strategy and Adding Value

I just finished reading an whitepaper titled “Driving Successful HR Leadership:  Talent Management’s Role in Core Business Strategy”.  Its a study that explored what’s working in company’s today and what gaps need to be filled.

In it, there are some interesting points that I want to focus on.  Right off the top is the first paragraph that states the three key components CEOs and executives hold as necessary for a successful business.

1. The right strategy
2. The right operations in place to execute that strategy
3. The best people to execute those operations

Obviously, from that list, we can see that HR is ultimately responsible for 33% of a company’s success. And number 2 can’t be accomplished without number 3 so you can legitimacy say that HR is responsible for 66% of a company’s success.

Talent Management is the key to ensuring that HR can execute that 33% 66%.  What is Talent Management?  Basically, it boils down to recruiting and retention activities, compensation, training & education, and performance management. In order for CEOs and executives to make better decisions, HR needs to be able to provide them metrics and analytics – aka numbers.  The whitepaper concludes that HR needs to shift from transactional to strategic in order to provide the CEO with the data they need to make decisions on the 33% of the business.

Highlights for me:

  • When recruiting, improved sourcing, screening and assessments, are the most important elements.  It is also recommended to anticipate vacancies through retirement or attrition in order to prepare before there is a need and mistakes can happen because of the urgency to fill the positions.
  • Retaining employees works best by having a competitive compensation strategy and a good training and education program.
  • Employee development is the number one tactic for retaining employees.
  • Training managers is the best way to improve the overall performance management process.
  • Executive teams are more likely to focus on performance management over talent scarcity or retention.
  • CEOs consider people management as a primary driver of results, but only 30% offer strong support for HR analytics.

The biggest challenge for most HR folks are the last two bullet points. Most Exec teams see HR as purely a transactional operation. How do we get the CEO and Exec team to focus on talent scarcity and retention and into supporting HR analytics?   How do we get them to see HR as a strategic partner?   It’s difficult because of the legacy in HR as a transactional part of the organization.  HR is, for most Executives, the policy police and the party planners.

I don’t have any answers to my questions today. But in future posts, I will explore how HR can become more involved in adding value to the strategic business planning process and getting away from the perception of being the policy police and party planners.

Yahoo!’s Mayer Making the Right Decisions About Flexible Work

There have been a lot of HR pros and others expressing their disappointment and anger with new Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer ending the flexible work arrangements and requiring employees to *gasp!* come and work at the office. Oh the humanity. I think all the noise made criticizing her was/is ridiculous.

She was hired to right a sinking ship and had to make a difficult and unpopular business decision. The flexible work arrangements at Yahoo! were obviously not working.

She had to make a drastic change.

Marissa came from Google, let’s not forget, and she is going to implement a lot of the successful strategies that worked there onto Yahoo! And she should, because that is exactly what she is expected to do. Shareholders expect and demand it. Shareholders are the owners of the company and expect their investment to grow, not decrease or stagnate.

Like it or not, fellow HR pros, the CEO’s first responsibility is to the shareholders and to ensure that the company’s stock is an attractive investment. The actions she takes have to please the market – and in her nine months, she has done that. Since she took over at Yahoo! in July 2012, the stock price has increased approximately 31%. I would be a very happy shareholder, and employee, with a 31% increase in nine months. It is clear that the strategic decisions she is making are being looked at favorably by the market.

Now I’m not saying a CEO should allow their corporate cultures deteriorate at the expense of just pleasing shareholders.  Having a culture that attracts and retains outstanding employees is looked at very favorably but shareholders but that culture must deliver good results.  There has to be a balance and, frankly, most times that balance has to lean towards the shareholders when a business decision has to be made.  Without a strong share price in the market a company cannot compete and risks eventually being taken over, reorganizing, or liquidating.

All those people squawking about the “horrible decision” she made have no idea what it takes to lead a huge company or the information she used to make the decision.  If HR pros want that “seat at the table” and want to be involved in the strategic planning process they need to have a better understanding of  a CEOs responsibilities.

I am embarrassed that many of my fellow HR pros are complaining so publicly about this decision.  It just reinforces corporate management’s opinion that HR is not ready and doesn’t deserve that “seat at the table” yet.

Turns out that Marissa didn’t like the empty parking lot, offices, or that Yahoo!’s vpn logs were showing light activity.  There is probably a lot more she isn’t telling us about the Yahoo! team she inherited.   I think there are only a limited number of people who can be productive working remotely from home. It’s a fad and will eventually be proven as such. People are social beings and work better when with other people.  As Marissa said at a recent HR conference in LA:

people are more productive when they’re alone, but they’re more collaborative and innovative when they’re together. Some of the best ideas come from pulling two different ideas together.

She’s right on.

Staffing a New Mine From Scratch – Introduction

I think I’m safe claiming that not a lot of HR professionals have been responsible for staffing a new mine from scratch – much less a new uranium mine.  There are currently eight (including ours) uranium mines operating in the United States with the most recent one, before ours, coming on line two years ago in Texas.  When we were finally given the green light to start construction of the mine in October of 2012, I had to start the implementation of the plan I had been working on for four years.  I want to share the steps I took in a multi-part series of posts, starting with this introduction.

It took a lot of work laying important foundations during the four years because there was no HR department when I started.  Everything basically was built from scratch along the way.  There are also not a lot of experienced uranium miners to recruit and hire.  It was a challenging undertaking but that’s what made it rewarding and interesting!

I’m very proud of what we accomplished and want to share it here on Hard Hat HR.  Hopefully you will find it interesting and helpful if and when you need to staff a new and remote start-up operation.  A lot of what we did can be applied to other industries but you will discover much of what we were able to successfully implement will only work in smaller rural communities – “Hard Hat” communities if you will.