Partnering for the Betterment

In his column Theory & Practice published in the Wall Street Journal, on March 31, Phred Dvorak, describes a company, NetAPP Inc., which has implemented a leadership development training program designed to encourage strategic thinking for its employees.

This program is a simulation of "real life" events, in a company designed to have a strong similarity to their actual company (NetAPP Inc.). This simulation is in the form of a game that forces players “to quickly grapple with challenges such as balancing long-term investments against short-term results,” according to Mr. Dvorak.

The game compressed 3 years time for the imaginary company, allowing the participants to experience long range results of their strategic decisions. The participants felt this created a realistic situation, which resulted in an excellent learning experience. This is a great idea, and it is also very timely.

Why? Because “Strategic Human Resources” is still today’s buzz phrase in the HR space.

But, according to a Human Resource Executive article called Preparing for the C-Suite, a recent survey suggests that HR Executives are not quite up to par on their own strategic thinking skills. According to the article, “HR executives are strategic compared to non-executives (such as HR managers), but less strategic than their C-suite peers.”

What is wrong with this picture? How can the typical HR executive mentor and train their employees in critical strategic thinking skills when they may lack those very same skills?

This is where you, the HR supplier, can step in and help – and not just in the form of pushing your products and services on them. I’m talking about partnering with your customers for the betterment of the organization, providing them with applicable best practices information that they can apply to their workforces today to ultimately improve their bottom lines. This can be in the form of white papers, webinars and other non-promotional activities.

Suppliers need to be aware of what their firms can do to help the HR professionals become more strategic. Many recruiting firms (and others) have done this, already. For example, Instead of simply filling a position, within a company, strategic recruiters find out where the company is heading, what skills (core competencies) the company may need, in the future - and then find candidates who have those skills.

Because the more strategic your customers are, the more successful their organizations become, and then the more successful your firm becomes.

Posted by Dawn Passaro

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