Tuesday in the Trenches: Integrate vs. Adminstrate
This week’s Tuesday in the Trenches guest post is from Steve Browne, Executive Director of Human Resources for LaRosa’s Pizzeria. In business for over 50 years, LaRosa’s has grown to 63 locations in the Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana region. Steve has the daunting task of building and maintaining an environment and career experience that keeps LaRosa’s employees engaged in this highly competitive multi-location business. Steve is also the editor-in-chief for a weekly HR Email, HR Net, that has 5,500 global subscribers. If you want to join the distribution, let him know. You can follow Steve on Twitter or catch his guest blog posts which crop up from time to time (e.g. a recent post on Rehaul).
Recently Charlie asked for posts from the “HR Trench” and this intrigued me. There are literally thousands of HR people who may take this term literally everyday unfortunately. I know too many HR folks who are miserable in what they do as a profession.
In looking at this, I had to ask myself the question – “Why are they miserable and I’m not ??”
The answer was pretty clear only because of how I have been encouraged and “allowed” to perform at my Company. About a year ago, my boss, the COO, asked me to draw a picture of what HR should be at our company. I honestly was a little baffled because he literally wanted a picture of what I’d like HR to be. After some deep reflection, and many cups of coffee, I came up with a picture and went back to present it to him.
I followed the “before and after” model that you see in those weight loss commercials because I wanted to express how HR was being utilized now and what it should be. The “before” model showed every department as silos – including HR. HR was only used if, and when, people needed it primarily for administrative tasks or employee relations problems that were now teetering on legal action. In contrast, the “after” model took HR and spread it in a row that spanned all of the departments. I explained that HR should be integrated throughout all departments and levels of the company because all of them have humans !!
Seems simple, but it worked. He agreed that HR should be integrated vs. administrative. Strategic on a regular basis vs. processing paperwork.
This frees me every day knowing that HR is expected to be integrated to move the Company forward. I wish HR professionals everywhere would follow an “integrated” approach !! If they did, they would see that the “trench” that we’re in is actually very cool and exciting !!