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By David Harder on May, 21, 2017

The #1 Reason Human Resource Executives Get Thrown Under the Bus

If 87% of the world’s workers are disengaged, odds are pretty high that we have a number of CEOs, business owners, and Chief Human Resource Officers that are suffering from the same malady. Disengagement often shows up as going through the motions, of not being present enough to think through the implications of an agreement or decision. Let’s use employee engagement initiatives as an example.

  • The CEO comes to human resources and ask the CHRO to “fix the employee engagement problem.”
  • By the time the CEO reaches the door, he or she is disengaged.
  • The human resources executive touts the new employee engagement initiative. Employees look past his or her shoulder to the CEO and see business as usual.
  • An employee survey is issued. The results make managers feel more inadequate than ever.
  • We send managers to a retreat center to learn how to draw or manipulate more enthusiasm, engagement, and productivity from the talent. They return enthused and the employees respond, “so what.”
  • The human resources executive is shown the door because yet another culture or engagement initiative failed.

The CEO is usually off the hook in these scenarios. Why? This siloed and dysfunctional treatment of talent is the norm. Remember that 8% of America’s organizations have healthy cultures and perhaps only 3% also have strongly engaged work environments. We usually call the latter “category leaders.” Most CEOs are fixated on market, product, and shareholders. They literally don’t want to be bothered with people. They will give lip service to placate but they won’t pick up the baton.

Talent executives commonly place themselves at risk because they don’t know what they don’t know or simply won’t develop the courage to speak up. It is the norm. When we examine environments that are fully engaged, the CEO is consistently on the front lines fully engaged with the culture. The role of the CHRO isn’t diminished in these environments, it is actually elevated. Because culture and talent are taken seriously by everyone. Now, we can roll up the sleeves and build an employer brand, acquire talent that fits the tribe, train employees to be engaged and become an employer of choice.

I routinely tell organizations before we even get to the conversation of how to create full engagement that if the CEO or business owner isn’t prepared to lead the initiative and create the culture to “Save your money and save your face. Don’t do it.” In settings such as this, we are happy to create a few fully engaged teams as a demonstration. Ultimately? Engagement must be led by #1 and built from the inside out – an exciting adventure.

Is there a payoff in changing the pattern? Absolutely! If only 13% of the world’s workers are engaged, we need to build engaged workers. That process not only improves productivity, it generates gratitude. Engagement creates loyal customers. It is worth an enormous amount of money. But, that will never happen if the people at the top above them are also going through the motions.

Brought to you by David Harder, President – Inspired Work, Inc.

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