Business leaders searching for ways to take their businesses from good to great should critically evaluate their workforce recruitment, management, compensation and benefit practices are properly designed to support business success or inappropriately detract from performance.
When designing and administering the human resources and other workforce processes for any business, human resources managers and consultants and the business leaders they support should stop thinking of and administering human resources as the “people” department and start thinking and running the department as the “performance management” department.
In recent decades, the practices of referring to the human resources department as the “People Department” has risen in popularity. While the change in nomenclature on first blush might seek fairly harmless, its emergence corresponds with the growing acceptance of a repurposing of the primary purpose of the human resources department in many companies away from supporting the workforce performance needs of management to an employee advocacy purpose.
The primary responsibility of management is to define the business goals and manage its people and other details to accomplish the goal. Businesses leaders determined to succeed usually take steps to promote achieve desired well-defined goals by adopting detailed implementation plans that depend upon properly qualified workers reliably delivering the required performances their business needs to succeed.
As businesses technically only act through the performances of their people, everything that goes right or wrong or better or worse in a company ultimately depends on what its people do, when and how. Human resource and associated workforce performance both are key drivers of business performance and costs as well as major contributors to liabilities and expense. even the most promising businesses experiences difficulty succeeding unless its people reliably perform as needed to implement the business plan. While businesses can struggle or fail if management chooses a poor business path, even the most promising businesses will experience difficulty achieving success if it can’t get its people to reliably implement the business plan. Therefore, effective workforce management critically impacts every company’s performance and ultimately, its success.
As with any other company resource used in its operations, management must manage workforce resources to meet the needs of the business. Management and its people must understand that the “people department” exists to drive business performance not to maximize employee satisfaction. When recruiting, hiring and promoting workers, business leaders should and must objectively define the tangible education, experience, skills, compensation and other employment terms to fit management expectations of the business needs. However hiring someone who has the capability of doing the job is only part of the equation. Getting the employee to actually do the job as desired for the compensation and other benefits of employment offered by the business is where management comes in to play.
While it’s great when the business needs align with the needs of its people, the management has a duty to put the success of the business ahead of employee satisfaction when these needs do not align. While management can admire the success realized by the management by survey human resource consulting businesses in promoting the idea that management will be unable to hire sufficient employees unless it restructures its business operations and workforce expectations to match survey responses of Gen-X and Millennial workers, the business failures and setbacks of the automobile, steel, airlines and numerous other businesses clearly document the perils to the business and its workers that the business failures and setbacks of the automobile, steel, airlines and numerous other businesses when management pander to compensation or other expectations of workers at the expense of responsible management. Therefore, while management generally should consider the market competitiveness of the company’s employment, compensation, benefits and culture, the implications on the company’s ability to recruit, retain and motivate the workforce talent and performances needed to best operate the business with the least management effort, expense and liability ultimately must determine whether and to what extent to accommodate a particular worker or group of worker’s demands or expectations about hours of work, compensation, benefits and other job satisfaction issues on business performance.
Once management defines the position, its required qualifications and performance requirements, compensation, benefits and other terms based on the business needs of the company, management helps qualified candidates perform their best by clearly defining and communicating management expectations. Management should make clear what the job is, how performance will be judged and the compensation and other benefits and opportunities of the job.
Thus, while surveys and other invitations for members of the team to provide input and feedback can provide valuable insights to management where the performance needs of the business might be advanced by such input, management generally should use care not to send mixed messages by inviting input by workers on matters which management already has determined the course of action required to meet the business needs. Similarly, while management can and should design and administer workforce policies and management to include appropriate flexibility to allow employees flexibility in the performance of their assigned duties, compensation, or other terms of employment within the parameters established by management, unless legally required, management generally should be cautious about accommodating workers’ requests for special treatment or accommodation of the employee’s preferences or needs do not fit the business performance needs determined by management. Likewise, teaming does not mean the team doesn’t have a head coach. While input from employees has a valuable role in businesses, failing to clearly define the parameters and expectations within which employees are expected to perform, inviting input on decisions management already decided, or tolerating diversity in performance where the business needs uniformity undermines the effectiveness of the business and the performance of the worker by confusing or misdirecting the workers.
While occasionally the unique skills and talents of a particular worker may be so valuable that the business needs justify accommodating his demands for prima donna treatment, management should carefully weigh the costs of accommodation of these preferences. Unfortunately, management frequently wastes significant time, money and legal fees apparently qualified candidates that lack perhaps the most important qualification for the position: a desire and enthusiasm for the job management offered rather than another mythical position with duties, titles, responsibilities, compensation or other perks that the candidate wishes he could obtain. In many cases, accommodation of one demand or foible leads to additional demands from the accommodated worker while either alienating or inviting other demands for special treatment for other workers on the team.
Ultimately, the workforce of a business is a team whose success depends on how well the players execute the game plan set by management. Regardless of how great the player’s credentials look on paper, his value to the company’s team depends upon how well his performance fulfills and furthers the performance of the team. The best candidates and employees are competent if not talented workers that have the skill and find fulfillment performing the duties contemplated by management under the leadership of its management for the pay and other offered perks as an opportunity too good to miss. A business that hires and retains workers that readily and enthusiastically perform in accordance with the business strategy and performance expectations established by management generally require less management.
For Advice, Representation, Training Or More Information
If you need help responding to these performance and risk management, compliance, enforcement or management concerns, updating or defending your management, corporate governance, compliance, risk management, workforce or other policies, practices, or actions, board or other training, or other assistance or information, contact the author of this update, management attorney Cynthia Marcotte Stamer.
Managing Shareholder of Cynthia Marcotte Stamer, P.C., a member of Stamer│Chadwick │Soefje PLLC, Ms. Stamer’s more than 27 years’ of leading edge work helping management lead and manage risk, operations and compliance as an practicing attorney, author, lecturer and industry and policy thought leader have resulted in her recognition as a “Top” attorney in employee benefits, labor and employment and health care law.
Board certified in labor and employment law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, a Fellow in the American College of Employee Benefit Counsel, past Chair and current Welfare Benefit Committee Co-Chair of the American Bar Association (ABA) RPTE Section Employee Benefits Group, Vice Chair of the ABA Tort & Insurance Practice Section Employee Benefits Committee, former Chair of the ABA Health Law Section Managed Care & Insurance Interest Group, an ABA Joint Committee on Employee Benefits Council Representative and Board Certified in Labor & Employment Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, Ms. Stamer is recognized nationally and internationally for her work helping organizations and their management use the law and process to manage people, process, compliance, operations and risk.
Highly valued for her rare ability to find pragmatic client-centric solutions by combining her detailed legal and operational knowledge and experience with her talent for creative problem-solving, Ms. Stamer works with businesses and their management, employee benefit plans, governments and other organizations to deal with all aspects of human resources and workforce management operations and compliance.
As determined by the needs of her clients, Ms. Stamer supports her clients both on a real time, “on demand” basis as well as on longer term basis to deal with daily performance management and operations, emerging crises, strategic planning, process improvement and change management, investigations, defending litigation, audits, investigations or other enforcement challenges, government affairs and public policy. Ms. Stamer advises, represents, coaches and defends public and private, domestic and international businesses, governments, employee benefit plans and their fiduciaries, and other organizations and their leaders about credentialing, engagement, contracting and other policy and program development and documentation, performance management, compensation and benefits, occupational injury and safety, and other risk and performance management of employees and other service providers, vendors and suppliers, customers and others; Federal Sentencing Guideline and other compliance, corporate governance, and internal controls; business disruption and continuity, disaster preparedness and response, occupational injury, corporate compliance, government investigation and other critical event planning, investigation and response; director, officer, and other leadership development, succession and liability management; trade secret, data security and breach, and other confidentiality and privacy policies, practices, events and processes; government and other contracting; business disruption and continuity, record retention and other documentation and reporting, and a host of other concerns. She also conducts, or assists and counsels clients to plan, conduct, review and redress findings from legal or corporate policy breaches, whistleblower or other complaints or reports, internal investigations, mock audits, government, customer, vendor, accounting firm, credentialing and other audits or investigations; employment and other services, compensation, employee benefits, investigations, officer, director and fiduciary liability, insurance and other workforce and operational aspects of mergers, acquisitions, restructurings, bankruptcies and other corporate events; cybercrime, identity theft, FACTA, HIPAA, tax, personal financial information, personal health information, trade secret and other data misappropriation or other breaches and threats to data, information, systems and processes, and other risk or compliance events; to evaluate, implement, and enforce D&O, E&O, General Liability, Fiduciary Liability, risk pools, captive insurance, indemnity, and other liability and risk retention and mitigation arrangements; as well as represents and defends organizations, employee benefit plans, and their leaders in government and private investigations and audits, regulatory actions, litigation and other enforcement actions.
A primary drafter of the Bolvian social security privatization law with extensive domestic and foreign regulatory and public affairs experience and widely recognized for her extensive involvement with U.S. health care, pension and social security and workforce policies, Ms. Stamer also has extensive government relations and public policy experience. She has been and remains deeply involved in helping to influence the Affordable Care Act and other health care, pension, social security, workforce, insurance and other policies critical to the workforce, benefits, and compensation practices and other key aspects of a broad range of businesses and their operations. She both helps her clients respond to and resolve emerging regulations and laws, government investigations and enforcement actions and helps them shape the rules through dealings with Congress and other legislatures, regulators and government officials domestically and internationally. A former lead consultant to the Government of Bolivia on its Social Security reform law and most recognized for her leadership on U.S. health and pension, wage and hour, tax, education and immigration policy reform, Ms. Stamer works with U.S. and foreign businesses, governments, trade associations, and others on workforce, social security and severance, health care, immigration, privacy and data security, tax, ethics and other laws and regulations. Founder and Executive Director of the Coalition for Responsible Healthcare Policy and its PROJECT COPE: the Coalition on Patient Empowerment and a Fellow in the American Bar Foundation and State Bar of Texas. She also works as a policy advisor and advocate to health plans, their sponsors, administrators, insurers and many other business, professional and civic organizations.
Author of the thousands of publications and workshops these and other employment, employee benefits, health care, insurance, workforce and other management matters, Ms. Stamer also is a highly sought out speaker and industry thought leader known for empowering audiences and readers. Ms. Stamer’s insights on employee benefits, insurance, health care and workforce matters in Atlantic Information Services, The Bureau of National Affairs (BNA), InsuranceThoughtLeaders.com, Benefits Magazine, Employee Benefit News, Texas CEO Magazine, HealthLeaders, Modern Healthcare, Business Insurance, Employee Benefits News, World At Work, Benefits Magazine, the Wall Street Journal, the Dallas Morning News, the Dallas Business Journal, the Houston Business Journal, and many other publications. She also has served as an Editorial Advisory Board Member for human resources, employee benefit and other management focused publications of BNA, HR.com, Employee Benefit News, InsuranceThoughtLeadership.com and many other prominent publications. Ms. Stamer also regularly serves on the faculty and planning committees for symposia of LexisNexis, the American Bar Association, ALIABA, the Society of Employee Benefits Administrators, the American Law Institute, ISSA, HIMMs, and many other prominent educational and training organizations and conducts training and speaks on these and other management, compliance and public policy concerns.
Ms. Stamer also is active in the leadership of a broad range of other professional and civic organizations. For instance, Ms. Stamer presently serves on an American Bar Association (ABA) Joint Committee on Employee Benefits Council representative; Vice President of the North Texas Healthcare Compliance Professionals Association; Immediate Past Chair of the ABA RPTE Employee Benefits & Other Compensation Committee, its current Welfare Benefit Plans Committee Co-Chair, on its Substantive Groups & Committee and its incoming Defined Contribution Plan Committee Chair and Practice Management Vice Chair; Past Chair of the ABA Health Law Section Managed Care & Insurance Interest Group and a current member of its Healthcare Coordinating Council; current Vice Chair of the ABA TIPS Employee Benefit Committee; the former Coordinator and a Vice-Chair of the Gulf Coast TEGE Council TE Division; on the Advisory Boards of InsuranceThoughtLeadership.com, HR.com, Employee Benefit News, and many other publications. She also previously served as a founding Board Member and President of the Alliance for Healthcare Excellence, as a Board Member and Board Compliance Committee Chair for the National Kidney Foundation of North Texas; the Board President of the early childhood development intervention agency, The Richardson Development Center for Children; Chair of the Dallas Bar Association Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation Committee; a member of the Board of Directors of the Southwest Benefits Association.
If you are interested in exploring other steps that your business or other organization or its leaders can take to use the law and other processes to minimize or resolve legal or operational risks or other help assessing or managing your workforce, operations or for additional information about Ms. Stamer, contact Ms. Stamer via email here or via telephone to (469) 767-8872 or see www.cynthiastamer.com
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