Looking to get the attention of your senior executives? Mike Deblieux, president of Mike Deblieux Human Resources in Tustin, California, offers these suggestions on how to become a better salesperson and successfully push the HR agenda:
Learn the basics of business.
Ask the finance director how to read a balance sheet. Sign up for marketing classes. Read books on quality control and manufacturing. The only way HR executives will become strategic business partners is by understanding the business they're in, the challenges they face and the best ways to overcome those challenges.
Learn how to communicate in management language.
"Don't tell your boss you want to implement a program because, 'The law requires it,' 'If we don't, we'll get sued,' or because, 'It will make employees feel better,'" Deblieux says. Articulate the results and outcome of the new program. If it's a training program, for example, talk about what employees will be able to accomplish after completing the program.
Don't just propose ideas, develop action plans.
"If you have a good idea, don't wait for direction. Create proposals that outline how you'll implement that good idea," says Deblieux.
Help managers to better implement HR's ideas.
"HR professionals must understand how to make it easy for managers to support them," Deblieux says. For example, if you've created an employee-of-the-month program, don't just hand the name of the employee to the president and expect the president to know why the employee received the award. Write a speech for the president that outlines the award recipient's accomplishments.
Don't forget to follow through.
HR professionals are great at putting together committees and task forces and coming up with good ideas, but they aren't always so good at following through on those ideas. "If you're going to champion a cause, believe in it all the way to implementation," Deblieux explains.
Get out of the HR department.
HR folks can't possibly know how to service internal customers unless they get out of the office and talk to those customers on a regular basis.
SOURCE: Mike Deblieux, president of Mike Debilieux Human Resources in Tustin, CA
Workforce, June 1997, Vol. 76, No. 6, p. 64.