HR and leadership go H2H

We have got B2B, B2C and some progressive marketers carefully tried to introduce P2P –as people to people. The latter is a very brave step into the right direction though I am inviting all in business who dare to go even one step further. Yes indeed; the time is there for H2H. Not the hydrogen powered SUV but ‘Heart to Heart’. And if you find that a bit too soft you can make it Head to Head or Human to Human. Whatever you want as long as you realise that doing business with any of your stakeholders (customers, suppliers, staff, government, …) is interacting with living beings. With people who have lots of emotions and feelings, needs and intuition, aims and drives. People who have neurons in there head, heart and stomach. We are not interacting with machines, not with Excel sheets and not with SAP.

jellyfishHuman Resources professionals have always been at the foreground of this understanding; as such the HR department has a bright future. Despite the pressure on HR to go more analytical, to play the Big Data game or to let Oracle or SAP run their function, experienced HR professionals know that their core business is heads, hearts and stomachs. Not an absenteeism figure of 9%, not an engagement score of 108 and not a talent acquisition success ratio of whatever.

Deloitte recently publicized their 2014 Global Human Capital trends; a survey really worthwhile reading. On top of the ten most urgent things to tackle, HR professionals and CEOs list leadership development. That is not a surprise; but the quoted root cause perhaps is. Apart from the underlying themes of globalisation and technological change, the changing expectations of the workforce is listed as the key driver for speeded-up leadership development. Today, and probably for some more years to go, the leadership challenge is to do business through engaged hearts and minds. Yes of course, we’ll also need skilled and talented people. But what do you do with skills without drive? With talent without engagement? And that’s what we get when leaders don’t find a way to respond efficiently to the expectations of the workforce. Let us also not forget, the Millennials don’t know the word ‘loyalty’; it’s not in their vocabulary. Time Magazine named them the ‘Me Me Me generation’.

In the same Deloitte study, the second most urgent thing to tackle is retention and engagement. As I wrote in an earlier blog on engagement, critical is to understand the needs and expectations of your teams. Deloitte adds: “companies should redefine their engagement strategy to move from keeping people to attracting them and creating a passionate and compassionate place to work”. Did you read the word “passion’ in here? And is it possible that this passion originates from the hard work of our 85,000,000,000 neurons in our hearts and minds? Answering to and providing support to enhance team’s passion and desires, that’s the most urgent role for HR and leaders all over the world. Through interacting from heart to heart.

Unless you only employ jellyfishes (with estimated 800 neurons per specimen).


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