Sunday, 26 July 2009

Ensuring alignment of senior HR team members


   One of my readers has asked me for some help with the following:

“We are doing a small project to identify how we could ensure alignment of senior HR team members with the business.

From your experience could you share some key performance indicators used to measure the performance of senior HR Management members.”


My response (published here in case it helps other readers as well):


To explain my answer first of all, although I do know what a couple of my clients have been doing in this area, I wouldn’t want to share their work, and in any case I don’t generally believe that what works for one organisation will necessarily work elsewhere.  So I hope it will be OK if I answer the question by describing the options that are available for you to do this.

And the first, most obvious option has to be to use your existing performance management system to ensure that your senior HR people are set performance objectives that align with and cascade from your business objectives, and that they are reviewed against these objectives – just like everyone else.

Your existing competencies should be able to fulfil the same role – or you could look at a set of HR competencies.

Either of these two approaches will allow alignment to be identified, but neither of them provides a specific measure of alignment.  To get this, you could use a tool like the HCM value triangle and ask individual team members and others they work with to evaluate the proportion of their time / activity / output that is focused on value for money, adding value and creating value, or even isn’t value at all.  For maximum alignment, you would look for as much of this to be focused on adding and creating value as possible.

Or there’s a useful framework in Becker, Huselid and Ulrich: the HR Scorecard (I’m not a fan of Becker / Huseild / Beatty’s HR / Workforce Scorecard, preferring my own HCM value chain, but the HR alignment model is OK – if a bit adding value focused) – see attached graphic.  The authors suggest:

“If an organisation expects to develop HR as a strategic asset, it needs to think about alignment in two ways.  The first is the alignment between the HR system that produces key HR deliverables and the requirements of the firm’s strategy implementation system… The second is the alignment between the role expectations for the HR function and the individual competencies required to put that role into action.”


You’ll find some examples of HR alignment measures in this book as well.  However, my experience suggests that identifying HR measures is never actually that hard.  When it is, it is because the objectives that you’re trying to measure still aren’t clear.  You need to ensure that you are – that you fully understand what you mean by alignment, and why this is important to you.  Once you are clear about this, using one or more of the options described above, I would expect KPIs to be fairly readily available to you.

Please do come back to me again (perhaps using the comments to this post) to let me know how you get on.


Other readers – anything else to add?





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