The session at HR.com's VIEW that was most meaningful to me was Kenny Moore's, author of The CEO and the Monk: One Company's Journey to Profit and Purpose. Moore is also corporate ombudsman at KeySpan and is primarily responsible for awakening joy, meaning and commitment in the workplace
A lot of his presentation made a lot of sense to me, including that, although KeyFast also run engagement surveys, more powerful 'measurement' seems to come from face-to-face contact between managers and their staff.
This reminds me of one of Dave Ulrich's comments when he says:
‘Useful as studies are, they’re often unnecessary. You can find out much about commitment by simply observing it. When we teach classes on employer commitment, the participating executives often seek precise, rigorous, and trackable measures that they can use for management action. Then we ask those who visit multiple sites how long it takes them to discern the employee commitment level of a unit they are visiting. Without exception, they reply in terms of hours rather than days and they refer to dialogues, not data’.
I particularly liked Kenny Moore’s description of the sessions he facilitates with employees and the CEO where the CEO is simply asked to listen to his staff.
But what particularly resonated for me was Kennny’s point that he doesn’t feel he needs to worry about not understanding the business: “We’ve got a lot of MBAs, a lot of smart people who do understand the business. What I can ask is how we can connect them to the business.”
Now, I’m not advocating that HR abandons its ambition to become more business focused, but I would repeat my view that what separates, or at least what I believe will separate in the future, great HR from the merely good, is the function’s deep, psychological understanding of people, and how people can best be helped to work effectively in their organisations, or in Kenny Moore’s language, how the two can be connected.