5 Questions to Help You “Sell” the Value of HR Jim Harrison, Queen’s IRC Facilitator
In the current business environment, it can be very frustrating some days to be an HR professional. In many ways it is like we are living the first line of Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities: It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…
Never have there been more HR programs and initiatives that can have a direct impact on business results – and never has it been harder to get the attention, investment and commitment of business leaders to make substantive – and at times even minor – changes in order to use the full value of our HR expertise.
In many companies, while HR has been granted a “place” at the table – or earned that place – they have not yet been granted or earned an equivalent and impactful “voice” at that table.
Businesses are in a constant state of change; yet, HR often waits in line for attention and investment behind technology, and technology, and technology, and then marketing (driven more and more by technology) and finance (often driven by technology in the endless appetite for more data). I think you get the point – and if you are an HR professional you not only get the point, you are probably living it. There is an endless, jostling line-up at the money trough for change initiatives – and there is a limited amount of money, resources, “brain-space”, time or attention to handle them all.
There are three reasons why it is easier to sell a technology – or marketing or finance – investment than an HR investment.
4 Strategies for Collective Bargaining in Today’s Economy Gary T. Furlong, C.Med, LL.M (ADR), Queen’s IRC Facilitator
We have entered a challenging and difficult time for collective bargaining for both employers and unions. Shortly following the great recession in 2008, both management and unions reached deals relatively quickly, everyone recognizing the dramatic economic issues the parties faced at the time. From 2008 well into 2012, there was little change. Employers tried to deal with the reality of the recession, and unions waited for the anticipated rebound, assuming it would resemble almost all recessions of the past – a difficult period, a holding pattern for a short time, followed by a return to growth in the economy and a resumption of “normal” bargaining. This time, however, that hasn’t happened. Certainly not in the way it has in the past.
The economy has, at best, rebounded to the level of “treading water”, and bargaining has not returned to anything resembling “normal” for the last 30 years. Organizations are looking for zero wage increases, looking to fund increases from savings within the agreement, and looking for amendments to benefits and pension plans as well. These are challenging and difficult issues, so how can negotiators achieve deals that can be ratified? How do union and management bargaining teams navigate these issues when the economy has stagnated? At times when government revenue is anemic, deficits are up, and private sector profits are much lower than normal? At times when unemployment is steady, but steady at a level that is over 3 percent higher than in the United States? At times when manufacturing jobs, long considered the backbone of a strong economy, have disappeared with few signs of rebounding?
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