In honor of the Innovation Awards presented at the 7th Annual Manufacturers' Summit in February, it seems appropriate to discuss the critical importance of human capital. Innovation occurs with the engagement and involvement of your people. That's why there is a specific category of the Manufacturers' Council of the Inland Empire's innovation awards for just this topic.
Have you ever thought about how to answer these questions:
- Why is HR a transaction department? (and therefore not part of the executive team) In the vast majority of organizations (big and small), HR is solely or mainly focused on benefits, payroll and the like. As an aside, thank you to my HR mentor who broke the mold with transformational HR -Debra Daniels. Without her, I would not have the same level of capability to partner with clients to deliver bottom line business results as it starts with the people.
- Why do we focus on saving pennies when sourcing top talent? Interestingly, we put these folks in charge of millions of revenue, profit and inventory dollars, yet don't want to invest to find them.
- What percentage of our executive meetings focus on people? We can get quite carried away in talking about customers, technologies, products and more. How often are we talking about people?
- Do we invest in training and development? Since I am president of APICS Inland Empire that specializes in education for supply chain and operations professionals, it is quite clear which companies and/or executives in our area support this type of program and which employees decide to take personal responsibility for their development. Have you taken stock lately?
- Do we invest time? This is FAR more important than the money as we learn through example and mentoring at a much quicker rate and more comprehensively. I remember the pressures of the VP of Operations and Supply Chain role - it is quite tempting to put off even the 15 or 30 minute performance or goal setting discussion but DON'T!
- Are we afraid to take on risk at the detriment of our people? This is especially tough in California since it can be a challenge to address employee issues; however, going back to my HR mentor, she always said, "take the appropriate actions to address employee issues". In essence, don't back down from respectfully addressing employee issues head on or it will likely be at the detriment of your business and the disengagement of the rest of your employees. It's no wonder 85% of employees are not engaged according to the latest Gallup poll.
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