TAKING THE HELM AS THE NEW HEAD OF HUMAN RESOURCES

Ship Helm

As a seasoned Human Resources leader joining a new organization, the first few months are critical to ones long term success. Because the function is responsible for the culture and the talent within an organization, it is important to establish oneself quickly. Having seen many Chief Human Resources officers fail to build the credibility required to succeed in an organization as well as witnessing those who have had a positive impact from the start, I have established a short list of high impact initiatives for any senior HR leader joining a new organization.Type your paragraph here.

Conference Table

Earn A Seat At The Table Quickly

Don't assume that as the Chief HR Officer that you are entitled to a seat at the leadership table. While it may have been promised during the interview process, a seat at the table should be earned. The fastest way to earn a seat at the table is to establish your competency as an HR leader and to prove your knowledge of the business.Tom Mathews, the CHRO at Cree and the former CHRO at Time Warner Cable always tells his HR teams that to be successful in HR you must be

A business leader first and an HR leader second.
— Tom Mathews, CHRO Cree

What Tom means is that you must establish your business acumen in order to earn the respect of other leaders within the business. As a newcomer to an organization, it is important to absorb as much as possible about the business in a short period of time. The first thirty days should be spent learning the business. Schedule meetings with each member of the senior leadership team with the goal to learn as much as possible about their functions and how they serve the organization. Visit the manufacturing facilities, meet with customers, spend time with technicians, meet with suppliers and distributors. If the company offers training classes take them even if they appear to be better suited for specialized worker than for the head of Human Resources.

Within thirty days you should have a pretty good idea of how the company makes money, what represents their competitive advantage in the marketplace, who the largest competitors are and what human resources opportunities and challenges exist. This knowledge will allow you to present a point of view to the senior leadership team and earn that seat at the table.

Create an HR Dashboard

You can expect what you inspect.
— W. Edwards Deming

W. Edwards Deming the management guru famously said

HR Dashboard

As the new HR Leader it is important to determine what you will inspect. The creation of an HR metrics dashboard is an important first step towards proving the impact on your new organization. With the assistance of the entire HR team as well as support from line of business leaders, one should quickly determine which key HR metrics should be measured on a monthly basis. An infographic based HR Dashboard or metrics report needs to be put in place within the first 60 days of starting the new job. Some metrics to consider for inclusion:

  • Time to fill open positions
  • Cost per hire
  • Turnover rate (by business line, department, region, etc.)
  • Benefits cost per employee
  • Employee Engagement
  • Average performance ratings (by function, department, etc.)
  • Diversity data (by function, level, region, department, etc.)
  • Source of hire
  • Internal promotions

There are thousands of potential metrics for consideration. What is most important is that the dashboard contain fewer than ten key metrics and that each one be quantifiable on a monthly basis. The chosen metrics should have a direct impact on the business either from a cost or revenue standpoint.

Once the graphically based HR Metrics Dashboard has been established, plan to publish and distribute it within the organization monthly. The dashboard will serve as your HR scorecard.

Celebrate Early Wins

Building momentum is important in any new job. As the new head of Human Resources chalking up early wins is important. These wins do not need to be personal. Wins for the HR team are even more important because they establish your leadership and ability to achieve results through others. Be deliberate about what to tackle and in what order. Early wins are about focus. Find the low hanging fruit first. Ask your team, what are some of the initiatives that they have wanted to implement, but for one reason or another have not gotten to do? Team successes are a reflection on you as the new leader and they will build trust within the team and the organization.


Foster Strong Relationships

Success in a new organization is about establishing trust and relationships. Be a visible leader who makes times for everyone. Accessibility is an important trait for the head of Human Resources. Be the organization's cheerleader and show others how to lead as an approachable and positive addition to the team.

More Than Four

The four initiatives above are just the start. This is not meant to be a comprehensive list, just four initiatives that can accelerate a new HR leaders path to success. Groove Management offers consulting services to accelerate the executive on boarding process.  Our New Leader Assimilation is just one of our many offerings.