All Your HR Manager Wants for the New Year

Focusing on human resources is an investment, not an expense.

For some unknown reason, as the Christmas holiday came and went, the 1944 novelty Christmas song All I Want for Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth kept ringing in my ears. Was it the simplicity of the tune or the simplicity of the child’s "ask" that made it such an earworm?

This then led me to thinking about human resource professionals. What would they have wanted for Christmas? What would they have asked for? What goals for the new year 2017 would they have set?

So as your HR professional returns to work, don’t be surprised if they have read up on the latest HR trends and have a long list of "asks" for you to consider. Some of these might be the following:

Strategic business partnership

Human resources professionals today want to be involved with your business as a partner. They don’t wish to simply be the policy police enforcing your administrative rules. Instead, they can bring significant value to the business by building your people capacity. However, in order to do that, the HR professional needs to be part of creating your business strategy. In other words, they need to be a partner in planning and decision-making.

Technology enhancement

Technology today is such a powerful tool in all aspects of your business. Your HR professional may be asking for software to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their services. They could also be seeking ways to understand the workforce better and be able to evaluate their HR practices so as to engage in continuous improvement.

Technology can identify which internal HR trends are impacting your organization. It can also reduce the administrative tasks and allow the professional to free up their time to focus on adding value. It can also facilitate many self-help HR services.


The world of work is changing so fast that HR professionals might be bombarding you with new ideas for change in your organization. After all, workers — especially millennials — are demanding new ways of working along with more flexibility and more opportunities for development. In other words, the old way of doing things is no longer working. As a result, HR professionals need their leaders to be more open-minded to listening and adapting to change.

Humanization of leadership

Leadership is no longer simply a tool for maximizing efficiency. Today, it is all about creating meaning and purpose. With this in mind, your HR professional will certainly be proposing new budgets for increased leadership training. That’s because workers want inspirational leaders who coach for success rather than policing for failure. Thus, program content must be beyond the traditional "one-day wonder" and instead concentrate on creating leadership behaviour that sees the employee as a valued asset with information and skills that can help create success.

Ongoing employee feedback

It is well-known that performance management is one of the worst-managed of all HR functions. Managers simply hate doing this task. Therefore, in 2017, your HR manager might ask you to consider moving to a continuous feedback process as a key means of managing performance.

The goal is to focus employees on becoming self-motivated with their supervisors providing touch point meetings and personal feedback as well as mentoring and coaching in order to stay on track. This developmental approach also needs to be integrated into the leadership training program.

New candidate-assessment tools

With the cost of making a hiring error reaching three to five times salary, your HR professional might request funding to become certified in one or more psychometric candidate-assessment tools. This skill set will help your professional make more accurate recommendations on the personality, communication style and character of candidates. Overall, these tools save countless hours of reviewing and validating the right fit and the quality of your candidates.

Reading the employee pulse

There’s plenty of research today that shows motivated and satisfied employees have an impact on both customer service and organizational success. Therefore, your HR manager may request the implementation of an employee survey to check the employee pulse. This feedback can help you ensure employee behaviour, engagement and job satisfaction is aligned with your success goals.

Expand wellness initiatives

At one time, business owners and HR professionals believed they played no role in influencing employee health and wellness. However, with company health-care costs rising quickly, this philosophy has changed significantly.

So today, expect your HR professional to ask for support to create an employee wellness program and/or expand one that might be in place. Organizations need to help employees become resilient both physically and emotionally in order to meet the challenges they’ll experience at work.

At the same time, your wellness program will help to attract top candidates to your organization.

HR professional development

With human resources and employment law constantly changing and readjusting to new developments, it’s important that your professional engage in their own professional development in order to stay current in their role as an effective advisor. Therefore, don’t be surprised when your HR manager proposes attending a conference and/or skill building workshop. HR professionals today also need to increase their knowledge of business strategy, operations and business finances in order to really be effective. Help them become well-rounded contributors.

I’m certain the child in All I Want for Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth eventually got what they wished.

However, in the case of your HR manager, the "ask" will always come with a budget requirement. On the other hand, it’s critical businesses start to see human resources as an investment rather than an expense. That’s because a strong human resource professional engaged in the strategic side of your business will save you from costly mistakes.

Today, a human resource professional is much more than a "paper pusher" or the policy police. They are more strategic, making a contribution at a higher level in the organization. Today as well, a designated Chartered Professional in Human Resources undergoes standardized training, they write comprehensive examinations and they meet experience and ongoing professional-development requirements.

When your HR professional submits a request for the equivalent of their "two front teeth," know their request comes from a solid base of knowledge and their awareness of trends and issues. Work with them to make 2017 the best year for your organization.

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