Why You Should Hire Your HR Leaders From Within
By Justin Sun Compensation Analyst, Lockheed Martin | March 02, 2014
To be a valued HR business partner, you need to understand your business. When asking HR executives at networking events what they consider to be the most important ingredient for success in their organization, I've heard this theme has continually surfaced. Being a true business partner means having a solid business acumen-e.g. understanding the figures that go into calculating your hotel's Gross Operating Profit Per Available Room (GOPPAR)-and being able to think about how talent can be managed more strategically to add value to the bottom line. While human resources in its inception was traditionally viewed as an administrative function and career option for those with strong soft skills, the expectations of today's HR professionals have transformed significantly in that HR must now have deep business acumen while being fully engaged with organizational strategy and continually focused on identifying innovative ways to deliver value.
One of the most effective ways to ensure that members of your HR team are fully grounded in the operations of your business is to hire them from within whenever possible. Growing talent internally will yield you multiple benefits: helping to enhance the credibility of your HR managers; completing work more quickly and effectively; and strengthening the culture of your organization.
Enhancing the Credibility of Your HR Talent
Hiring HR talent from within your organization can help ensure that your managers are more credible when dealing with employee issues and catering to the needs of the business. For example, a former HR colleague who I worked with at Fairmont Hotels and Resorts, described to me how her experience working in housekeeping during the early years of her hospitality career helped her to empathize more deeply with employees who would complain to her about the difficulties they experienced in finishing their room assignments. When I approached her myself, as an Assistant Rooms Manager, to discuss the challenges that I was having with managing employees at our hotel, she would coach me on ways to motivate tough employees in light of her shared experiences working in housekeeping.
Most HR colleagues who I know in the hotel industry began their careers as room attendants, front desk agents, or servers out on the frontlines interacting directly with guests, so they understand firsthand the physical and emotional strains involved with fulfilling these roles. When employees stop by HR to discuss a performance concern or to vent about an unreasonable guest, they want to speak with someone who truly understands where they are coming from: someone who has also experienced the emotional stress of being yelled at by hard-to-please guests or who has strained their back from kneeling down to scrub the inside of a toilet. They also want to speak with someone who will be an advocate for them and who will be open to hearing their side of a story instead of automatically siding with management-a temptation for HR professionals seeking to win the approval of their leadership team.
I am not proposing that HR professionals must be touchy-feely people who are always happy and eager to please, but I do believe that in the service industry, HR must be held to a different and higher standard to energize employees and to demonstrate through example how they should treat guests. The subtle ways in which HR makes an effort to deliver excellent service to employees-from welcoming them with a smile to addressing them personally by name-can not only help to build trust with them but also encourage them to provide the same level of service to guests.