Hello HR Rockstars, I wanted to summarize a series of short videos this week designed to help you recognize and get around some typical obstacles that hold people back in organizations, especially those in Human Resources.

The first is a difficult one, it is about the underlying reward system that governs people’s behavior, especially those on the leadership team. Compensation structures are often set up to “award” a salary and also, for people at a top layer of leadership, there is also a bonus system that pays out when they hit their goals.

Often these bonus systems reward a narrow focus: Generally hitting sales, productivity, and customer satisfaction numbers, whatever the key performance indicator that keeps the company afloat and growing.

The key point in one of my favorite books: Freakonomics by Stephen Dubner and Steven Levitt. People do what they are rewarded to do, (if they like that award) which means they will push away all other tasks or find ways to resist them as long as possible while their real focus in on the goal that pays them that bonus.

One company I worked for recognized this and changed the reward system to include the necessity to support learning and development programs and required evidence that leaders were providing meaningful development plans.  Things really changed after that! Support was everywhere for training programs, development planning, succession plans, and even a facility specifically set aside for learning.

So if you have a hard time getting the attention and support for your people system related projects, the reward system might be working against you.  See a quick video about this here: https://youtu.be/44hAi0tIbW4

Getting Out of the Weeds

Many folks in HR get buried in small, insignificant tasks, or doing things that are not a match for their level of the organization, like data entry, report writing, and countless interruptions. My least favorite is getting involved in disputes and conflicts when they should never have been escalated to HR.  In essence, when your time is taken up by leaders who need HR to help them intervene in performance problems or coaching, you are taking responsibility for issues that leaders should be able to keep insignificant (Like preventing escalation by using their leadership skills).

When you get out of the weeds you can move on to more important projects, such as those that can save the business money, or hire better people or change behavior or culture for the better. These types of strategic tasks are more satisfying, more impactful, and much better to see on your resume than such lines as: “handled forms, data entry, and filing.”

Check out low-cost databases, learning management systems, and other tools to make your days more organized and chop down some of the weeds that take up your valuable time, so you can start proving yourself as an HR Rockstar.  https://youtu.be/Ysq3kJyyPTg

Resistance: Recognizing it and Learning From it.

What does resistance look like in your organization?  Picture this: You are introducing your plan for a new training program that will improve how well leaders reduce conflict in the organization. You predict it will positively impact retention, reduce time spent in HR counseling meetings by improving the overall leadership skills of front line leaders.

You are asking for the upper staff to support the training by identifying active conflicts with their front line leaders and discussing their progress in holding conflict resolution conversations after class.  The trouble is they don’t want to participate.

I get it, some upper leaders have many direct reports, and scheduling all those one on ones could be difficult. So should you, yet you know this program will work if the class attendees practice what they learned. How do you deal with the “I don’t want to” attitude of the upper leaders who say they want to have those positive effects on the business?

First, recognize resistance. It could be shown to you with anger, even attacks on your ideas or plan. It could be leaders say they will but with no real effort to do what is needed. Some may say, I just don’t get it.  (acting confused).

Second: Be empathetic. It is hard to squeeze in more tasks, especially since they are most interested in getting their goals done, not yours (see the first section!)

Third, follow up, ask if you can clarify, ask how they are feeling about the task. If they get angry at this point and show how much they are resisting the project, you may end up with some good information from which to carefully proceed and get your project done anyway. Here is the video on this topic: https://youtu.be/DwgtS9ADlc4

Cheers, I hope this helps!

See videos on my YouTube channel! https://youtu.be/DwgtS9ADlc4

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