Bridging the Gap from Consultant to Executive ¢â‚¬¢ HR professionals...

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    Bridging the Gap from Consultant to Executive Jeff Dawley

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    Jeff Dawley, CPA, CA (Canada), CPA (Illinois), CGMA Chief Financial Officer, Partner BridgePoint Financial Services Inc.

    VERENA Minerals Corporation

    Allen & Miles LLP Chartered Accountants

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    1. How Important Are People? 2. Defining Our Identity

    a. How Others See Us b. Who We Are c. Who We Should Be

    3. Bridging the Gap 4. Questions

    Bridging the Gap

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    How Important are People?

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    Typical Business Goals

    • Identify new opportunities

    o providing safe work environments, managing performance issues, understanding the compensation market

    o measuring and increasing employee engagement

    o hiring the right people with the right compensation plan

    o participating in the executive process, understanding the entire business

    • Reduce costs

    • Increase productivity

    • Increase sales

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     Across a randomly selected group of seven Canadian companies from diverse industries, personnel costs averaged 44% of total expenses and 36% of total revenue.

     Personnel costs are usually the LARGEST single expense item on the income statement of a company.

    Personnel Expense

    As a % of total


    As a % of total

    revenue (in millions of Cdn $)

    Average 1,196.8$ 44% 36%

    High 6,268.3$ 68% 99% Low 1.4$ 22% 7%

    Note: Extracted from the 2014 or 2015 annual reports from a randomly selected group of seven Canadian public companies.

    Dollars and Cents

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    People are a source of innovative ideas within a business when encouraged to participate Poor people management may lead to disruptive and expensive turnover Disengaged people may underperform and negatively impact productivity

    How People Directly Impact Performance

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    Defining Our Identity

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    How others see us • Employee advocate

    • HR is often viewed as being “on the employee’s side”, rather than representing the interests of the company

    • Recruiting and termination management • Managers often want to push much of the responsibility for these tasks to

    HR, without properly engaging HR resources in the full resource plan

    • Benefits and payroll custodian • Keeper of the employee and benefit data, primarily as a data input and

    reporting function

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    How others see us • Compliance monitor

    • Driving costs and hassle when all the business wants to do is run the business • “Soft” skills

    • Too many HR professional are still happy to say they don’t understand the numbers, and prefer to talk to people

    Many HR professionals today are seen by businesses as : SERVICE PROVIDERS/BACK OFFICE

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    Who we are • Formalized HR credentials

    • CHRP, CHRL, CHRE • HR Reporter, Dec 30, 2014 “HR Designations: A list of designations available

    to HR professionals” listed 56 specialized designations related to Human Resources

    • Centralized professional body: HRPA • Training and education

    • Continuing education and conferences through HRPA, universities and colleges, in addition to post-secondary degrees and diplomas

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    Who we are • Talent acquisition

    • HR professionals manage the entire talent acquisition process from identifying characteristics required in a new resource through to hiring and orientation

    • Regulatory compliance • HR professionals are well versed in the importance of regulatory compliance

    and the rules around people and human resources

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    Who we are • HR functional management

    • HR professionals have the skills and training to manage all aspects of the HR department, including staffing, budgeting, system evaluation, etc.

    • Balanced perspective • HR professionals bring a balanced view between the wants and needs of the

    employee and the goals of the company

    Many HR professionals today are: CONSULTANTS

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    Who we should be • Talent optimization

    • Bring experience and knowledge together to establish strategies and tactics for getting the most out of the current and future talent in the company

    • Regulatory navigation • Identify regulatory change before it happens and through analysis, provide

    recommendations to mitigate risk or take advantage of opportunity

    • Manager/Leader • Set an example as a leader who takes accountability for the entire

    company’s performance and excels at communication

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    Who we should be • Advocate/Analyst

    • Remain true to technical roots, advocating for the HR function, providing analytical insight, all with the company’s goals as the primary focus

    • Strategist • Drive the strategic thought process as a catalyst and contributor, rather

    than as a customer waiting for others to set the direction.

    While some HR professionals are viewed in this way (usually in larger corporations), accessing the decision-making process and influencing strategy requires that you are seen as a: PARTNER/EXECUTIVE

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    Bridging The Gap

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    A Business Leader’s View of HR • Dismissive, “founders can do

    it themselves”, payroll and benefits only, external recruitment agencies, compliance hassle, cost center

    • Embracing senior leadership role of HR, demanding of complete understanding of the business, expectation of multi-function experience and viewpoint, value-driver

    • Where does your business fall on the continuum?

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    “If they had just asked me I could have told them that it was going to fail.”

    “This company doesn’t care about people…only the bottom line.”

    Everyone is responsible and accountable for the plan, whether or not they find a way to participate in the process.

    “We don’t have time to do all that training and documentation.”

    “I can’t afford HR help right now. Every dollar counts.”

    There are no good excuses for excluding a valuable contributor from the strategic planning process.

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    The Expectation Gap • There is a lack of alignment between what HR professionals are

    actually capable of achieving and contributing to a business and the image those businesses have of HR professionals.

    • Partner vs. Consultant or Service provider • Balanced vs. Soft • Knowledge expert vs. Compliance monitor • Leader vs. Administrator

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    Bridging the Gap • Seek out opportunities to participate in executive leadership • Manage cross-functional projects • Champion corporate culture • Be persistent and consistent in your approach

    • Earn a place in the strategic management of the business by: • Respecting the bottom line • Placing business first, function second • Making recommendations stage-appropriate • Diversifying your toolkit

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    Respect the Dollar If the company isn’t profitable, the owners won’t continue paying their employees.

    • Always include the financial impact of recommendations.

    • Understand how decisions will improve or erode the company’s profitability.

    • Learn to use tools that make tracking financial results. Spreadsheet software is mandatory for today’s manager.

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    Business First, Function Second Demonstrate an understanding of the business. You are not just an HR professional, but an experienced business executive.

    • Suggest changes that drive improvements to the bottom line.

    • Highlight where you are recommending NOT implementing optional regulatory guidance or other procedures and why.

    • Sacrifice an HR initiative and offer up the resources for a revenue-generating opportunity.

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    Stage-appropriate Recommendations Each stage of a business requires different solutions.

    • Investment – Who do you need and how much $ do you have?

    • Growth – How do you minimize stress and manage growth?

    • Stable state – How do you keep staff motivated and driving improvements?

    • Wind-down – How do you keep staff engaged?

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    Who do you need and how much $ do you have?

     Hiring  Compensation  Minimum


     How do you minimize stress and manage growth?

     Policy development  On-boarding  Comp: cash vs non-


     How do you keep staff motivated and driving improvements?

     Continuing education

     Succession  Quality-based


     How do you keep staff engaged?

     Severance  Stay incentives  Attendance

    Investment Growth Stable State Wind-down

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    Diversify your Tools Every decision a business makes should be a data-driven decision. Here are a few examples of software that you should either be using within your department, or evaluating as you grow.

    Word – for form letters, mass mailings, formatted output Excel – to analyze in