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Record retention is complex and time consuming. However, in addition to complying with various federal and state laws, keeping good, well-organized records can be very helpful in documenting and supporting an organization’s employment actions.
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This special report will discuss how you can ensure your records are in good order, and establish a record-retention policy.

Topics covered:
1. Hiring Records
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3. Termination Records
4. Litigation Issues
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6. Tips for Better Recordkeeping
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June 22, 2005
Expert: HR to Become Less Transactional, More Transformational

BLR Senior Editor

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SAN DIEGO--As technology advances, HR will become more efficient, and that in turn will allow HR professionals to spend more time transforming the way work is done in their organizations, an author told the 57th Annual Convention and Exposition of the Society for Human Resource Professionals (SHRM).

David Ulrich, a professor of business at the University of Michigan as well as the author of a number of books regarding HR strategies, practices and competencies, spoke of the "HR value proposition," which is also the name of a new book he co-authored.

He began by posing the "fundamental message" of the HR value proposition: that HR exists because "we create value." However, we must remember that "value" is defined by the receiver more than the giver, Ulrich says, and for HR that means that as highly we may think of programs and services we provide, others must find them of value in order for them to be truly valuable.

Five Key Elements

Ulrich then laid out the 5 key elements to HR's creation of value, each of which involves a number of criteria--and which are described in detail in The HR Value Proposition book. He apologized to the audience for the speed with which he needed to cover each element and explained that an outline of the presentation had been posted online Monday evening so that attendees could access it afterward. That website is open to the public and a comprehensive explanation of the elements and criteria he touched upon can found by following the link at the bottom of this article. Here, we provide a brief overview.

The first element of building an HR value proposition is to get to know external business realities--to keep up with changing technologies, economics and demographics in a global context.

The second element is serving external and internal stakeholders--customers, investors, managers, and employees. This step involves:

  • building long-term connections with target customers
  • auditing and creating organizational capabilities that will turn strategy into action
  • deploying a clear value proposition for employees that explains what is expected from employees and what they will get in return

The third element is crafting HR practices that will create value. This involves:

  • investing in people--by buying, building, borrowing, boosting, and binding talent
  • investing in performance practices--by setting standards, allocating rewards (financial and non-financial) and providing feedback
  • investing in information practices--deciding what to communicate/share, with whom to share information and how to share it
  • investing in work practices--determining who does the work and how and where it is done

The fourth element is to build HR resources. This involves having an HR business plan that brings together strategy from the business, capabilities from the organization, and action by HR to create results. It also involves organizing HR to reflect the HR business plan. And this is where the transformation of HR comes in--as HR "helps line managers deliver strategy through capabilities; customers develop relationships, and investors increase confidence, they transform the way work is done."

All of the processes such as hiring, training, and administrating compensation and benefits, are transactions that are being completed with more and more efficiency "through service centers, e-HR, and outsourcing" Ulrich explained, and HR must focus more on transformation--which involves an overhaul as to how HR is organized to assure it will be "governed in a way to deliver on strategy."

The fifth element is assuring HR professionalism. This involves:

1) Playing the right HR roles--Ulrich poses that an HR leader's roles are that of a functional expert ("We need to have functional knowledge to help organizations grow"), a strategic partner, an employee advocate, and a human capital developer.
2) Demonstrating the right HR competencies--Ulrich defined the areas in which HR professionals must demonstrate that they are competent and have the right tools. Specifically, HR must

  • be business literate
  • be able to learn to use technology
  • gain the trust of those they serve, and
  • be able to help the company deliver strategy

3) Investing in our own development--Ulrich says HR can do this by continuing to invest time in learning by way of listening, observing, reading, and practicing.

"We are the values," Ulrich posed. "We should stand up and present value for the people we represent." And, he concluded, each day HR professionals should think of themselves as having and providing "more than yesterday, less than tomorrow" in terms of value, underscoring that we should increase the value provide by continuously growing and building.



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