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Last week Jane wrote to me and with her permission here is her email.
Dear Perminus.
I’ve been in my job for 11 months as a HR manager. At first it was fun. I was learning a lot. Over the past six months or so I’ve noticed that my boss, who is very “chipper” and upbeat, loves to say, “I want to hear your ideas!” but when my teammates and I have ideas, the boss doesn’t want to hear them and even when he does nothing happens.
He cuts us off as soon as we bring up an idea, or he says, “We’ll think about that in due course.” I have yet to see him pick up a good idea and do anything with it
I am beginning to think I made the wrong decision to join this organisation. How should I go about making my HR ideas accepted and implemented?
Regards,
Jane.
My Response:
If you have worked in HR for some time then you know that HR is a change agent role.
At one point or another you will be required to introduce change in your organisation.
More often than note change is initiated by top management or directors. For example, it could be cost cutting that leads to declaring positions redundant.
You could also be asked to initiate a culture change to ensure that employees are well aligned to the organisation mission and vision.
It is easy to get support from directors and top management when it is them proposing changes.
Where you will face a big challenge is when you are the one proposing change. And especially where the leadership does not respect HR. For example, you might want to introduce a benefit say medical cover or pension in order to retain and attract the best talent. You could also be proposing flexi hours. You might even want to introduce a different style of doing things. It could even be team building which is shot down.
This brings me to my topic for the day as I answer Jane. Why does management ignore your good HR ideas?
We shall discuss this during our training next Saturday on how to position yourself as a HR business partner and earn the respect of key decision makers in your organisation and thereby be able to introduce change and have your HR department make an impact.
For now, here are some of the reasons why your HR ideas are being ignored.

  1. You are one sided. You are leaning on employees’ side and have not considered the bigger picture i.e. how the changes affect the bottom line.
  2. You haven’t done proper homework to support your case. Business is all about figures. Without figures it is just but a nice idea.
  3. You are talking to the wrong person. If they cannot make a decision then you are wasting your time.
  4. You have not earned the decision makers respect and trust. How do you carry yourself? Are you knowledgeable in HR?
  5. You use persuasion and logic. You do not understand influence.
  6. Lastly, you have not figured out office politics. The ability to get things done at top level requires that you pay attention to office politics and power dynamics. At management level it’s 60% technical skills and 40% soft skills – that includes ability to recognize power dynamics/office politics

As I mentioned, when you join us for our next week training titled Business Driven HR: How To Become The HR Business Partner you will discover how to connect with leadership and influence decision making process.
You will also gain key soft skills that will enable you to make and champion changes in your organization as well as navigate office and leadership politics.
I look forward to seeing you on Saturday. Few seats remaining so click here for more details and to book a slot today. The training has been authorized by IHRM for one (1) CPD Point.