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HR and management often want to do too much too quickly. I have been guilty as well. My personal archive is full with HR-plans that have never been totally implemented. A big challenge for HR is to choose and advice the HR-interventions that will have the biggest impact on the current organizational en cultural issues (preferably at the lowest cost). What are my favorite HR interventions?

  1. Do nothing

    Often this is the best solution. Do nothing. Action is over rated. The typical manager in an organization is action prone. When she or he smells an issue, the typical reaction is: action! On the leadership competency list you will not find “wait and see”, but “decisiveness” and “problem solving”. “Listening” will be on the list, but this is the most difficult competency to master.
    Doing nothing is often a good choice. Not by default, making the right choice between doing nothing and doing something is not so easy. If you rightfully choose to do nothing, many things can happen. The issue turns out to be a minor or non-issue. The organization shows its power, and the issue is tackled without any intervention from senior management. Or: the organization redirects itself, and moves into another direction to avoid the issue.

  2. Recruit

    In my experience the HR intervention with the biggest impact is recruitment. A new leader, from inside or outside the organization, can make a big difference. Recruitment is an area where HR has a lot to add. Find the right candidates. Promote high potentials. Design and execute a fair and rigorous selection process. Help with the onboarding of the new leader.

  3. Have a critical conversation 

    An important skill for HR professionals is the ability to have critical conversations. Do not duck important issues, but address them in a constructive way in a critical conversation. Starting the necessary critical conversations is not easy, and therefore it is often easier to revert to 1 (do nothing) or 2 (recruit).

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