Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The HR Dilemma

Couple of month’s back I wrote about the willingness of companies that are now adopting the importance of the HRD within a sizeable company. Of late, while doing a number of Business Development meets with a few companies I have realized that a few companies in Malaysia are finding the same problem as others.

I recently had a long two hour chat with a HR Manager of a reputable company and we shared our views and opinions on the IT industry particularly in retention and recruitment. I believe a lot of companies are going through the same problem. I would call it a HR Dilemma in Malaysia.

1st HR Departments should not be viewed as an Administrative nuisance. I mean, think about it, without certain policies and administration procedures a lot of crucial information will be lost. Let me share with you two important procedures.

Recruitment Procedures:

Without proper forms and documents that are filled out and approved upon by HOD’s, such as a Request for New Staff form, vital information is lost if everything is verbal. I’ve seen my fair share of RNS’s forms and information like dates, description’s of position, budget, race (It is Malaysia lets face it), approval signatures, requirements and expectation will not be clear to the person doing the recruitment and forms like these will be tracked so that when the position is fulfilled, the department will know the exact date of the start of the recruitment cycle. Without a simple form like this which will only take a minute to fill, sometimes recruitment cycles are unknown and the function of the position is unclear. Most importantly, HR is usually the first contact of any company when it comes to hiring hence things like budget, seniority, reporting structure is imperative information when it comes to hiring. This is done not only as a tracking feature but a factor that increases future knowledge in the event that the department has to hire another person for the role. The department, looking at previous form will now understand the difficulties, timeline and also justification of the role.

Exit Interviews:

Send the resign-ee for an Exit Interview with HR!

Obviously you do not expect the total truth to why an employee leaves a company but roughly you can get an idea if five leave and all a few of them have the same answers. Even if it is a non-verbal meeting a sheet documenting your reasons to leave is also a valuable factor as sometimes, ex-employee’s are rather shy when they are confronted by HR and prefers reasons to be written than to be communicated. Exit Interviews is a tool which will enable companies to counter high turnovers by a simple reasoning and analysis of problems voiced out from their staff.

Soooo.....I think dynamic HR managers have to be able to push their way through and earn the respect of HOD’s and seeing themselves as a Business Asset to companies just as the HOD’s are. A Human Resource strategy particularly in Talent Management and retention needs an all round help and without the help of the HOD’s, HR would be redundant. A strategy fails when there is no motive to move forward and mindsets that does not allow a company as a whole to progress for the betterment of talent progression, retention and recruitment.

In the IT industry, today, now and this minute, packages play an important role. Firms are getting competitive. Like I said in my previous posting, more and more firms are moving to 13 month packages.

The differentiators today, which I feel, that could help firms attract employees are perks and benefits. It has to be attractive, not necessarily different but attractive. Without these small policies, procedures and strategies are put in place; a lot of firms will still remain backward. Air Asia for example, put’s its employee’s first. Brilliant!
It takes a lot of collaboration. Without open minds and HR practitioners being aggressive in putting strategies in place and HOD’s co-operating, it is going to be tough moving forward for firms to achieve its employee retention and attraction strategies.

So the dilemma is simple, when HR lays out a strategy, a lot of times HOD’s are not co-operative. I have experience this first hand. The objective is for HR to push their way through acting like a salesman and selling their idea and executing their strategies. A dynamic HR manager sees himself as a person that is able to make things happen and make the company a world class company by convincing MD’s, HOD’s and shareholders that employee’s are the driving forces of a company and we should work for them as they have worked for us’. Very far-fetch, but you get what I mean. Unless HR practitioners are able to push forward and win the respect of the key people within the company, it is hard to progress.

Until then, without analysis and strategies performed to counter people issues within the company, there will always be high turnovers and financial losses.

So the dilemma here is the HR Dilemma.