The Hunger Games has hit the big screen. The film has created quite a buzz, and conversations about the characters are all around us. It’s a highly entertaining story with big government, impoverished workers, and daring heroes. You may be wondering how any of this relates to human capital. Here are some things that HR executives can learn from the protagonist of the story, Katniss Everdeen:
1. Develop your personal skills
2. Build alliances
3. Take a high perch
4. Believe in something big
5. Ensure the odds are “ever in your favor”
Develop your Personal Skills
In The Hunger Games, Katniss displays her prowess with a bow and arrows. This skill helps her defend herself and earn the respect of peers. HR executives can sharpen their personal skills in order to survive and thrive, too. For example, strategic talent management skills can go a long way in advancing recruitment and selection processes. Invest the time to learn about the companies that offer the latest developments and tools to enable recruitment and selection for your company.
These applications may be as common and familiar as the ubiquitous applicant tracking system (ATS), however, how many companies fully utilize the power and capability of their ATS provider?
Just as new arrows provide improved performance to an archer, ATS functionality can really energize a candidate selection process by integrating new features and delivering enhanced benefits.
Contact your ATS provider for a quick demo, follow the company on Twitter, watch their YouTube videos and attend webcasts that provide insight and training on their new releases and enhanced functionality. Knowledge is power. Skill development is the best way to harness this power.
Katniss Everdeen forms alliances for a number of reasons: to gain security, scale power, provide protection and attain personal goals. She possesses a natural ability to build alliances with peers, mentors, coaches, media and others.
To achieve peak performance in their roles, HR executives should also build alliances. Some alliances are built to enhance security and safety. Because HR traditionally reports to the CEO through the finance department, HR executives should extend an olive branch to the office of the CFO. As HR executives become more strategic in their approach to talent management they can share valuable information with finance and, in return, be empowered by their support for new initiatives.
Learn to connect HR processes to business outcomes and the CFO will be all ears.
Another favorable alliance is with the business unit leaders responsible for the key outcomes of the company. This includes areas such as sales and customer service. Forming mutually rewarding alliances that share information and action for these business areas can greatly enhance the effectiveness of people practices. Quantify HR’s contributions to business results and you’ll see powerful alliances that extend the influence of HR executives.
Take a High Perch
Sitting high in a tree provides protection from danger and a broad perspective on the world. Moviegoers will see Katniss scramble up trees to avoid danger, seek a safe place to rest and to gain a better view of the surrounding landscape. Here we have another opportunity for HR executives to think about how they view their workforce.
Sometimes we become so familiar with what we understand to be important that we fail to ask the questions that can lead to innovation and improvement.
HR practices can sometimes be very tactical and process-centric. Big data offers the ultimate high-perch perspective; however, very few companies excel at process excellence and strategic innovation because they lack the data to guide improvement.
Commission a professional services firm to conduct a skills gap analysis and a bench strength report. Gather and share data that helps your CEO understand the people supply chain as it relates to the organizational strategy. Does your current workforce have the skills to execute the strategy? Where are the leaders of tomorrow? HR leaders must rise above the surrounding transactional trees to gain a perspective on the strategic positioning of their workforce.
Believe in Something Big
Competing against superior adversaries is a challenge shared by Katniss Everdeen and HR leaders of almost any company you can name. Katniss comes to believe that she can overcome the overwhelming odds working against her. This helps her find inner strength while inspiring others to believe in something big.
HR leaders are often the spokespeople for their organizations during recruiting activities. Think about the first people you met when you encountered a potential employer – they were probably from HR. Leaders that can effectively position the company, its people, products and services, will attract the top talent they need to win in today’s economy.
People want to believe in what they’re doing, to be a part of a great company and to be valued for their contribution.
This is true of new hires and the incumbent workforce. Feedback from employee engagement surveys proves the point. Top-performing organizations understand that employee engagement is the force that drives business performance.
A recent study by Gallup reveals significant differences in engaged worker productivity, profitability, safety incidents, and absenteeism when compared to disengaged workgroups. Furthermore, engaged organizations have 3.9 times the earnings per share (EPS) growth rate compared to industry peer organizations with lower engagement scores. Increasing employee engagement, and their belief in something big, correlates directly with a positive impact on business metrics.
Ensure the Odds are “Ever in your Favor”
One of the characters in The Hunger Games has a favorite phrase. She says to potential participants of the games, “Happy Hunger Games and may the odds be ever in your favor.”
To ensure favorable odds, one must increase certainty of outcomes.
HR leaders can blend strategic talent analysis with practical steps to influence how people view their work, their employees and even their customers. Workforce analytics provide data points related to job tasks, skill levels, talent, performance, and risks associated with workers’ compensation claims and liability.
For many companies, the processes necessary to collect, analyze and impact these business metrics are not in place. This lack of data on such key business metrics puts HR leaders in the unenviable position of having to take action and make recommendations based on guesswork rather than empirical evidence. This severely decreases the odds of making informed talent decisions. The results can be very costly to their organization.
While The Hunger Games takes place in a fictional future, the lessons that HR leaders can learn today are very real. By aligning people, processes and business outcomes, businesses can drive operational performance. A quote from the The Hunger Games describing Katniss Everdeen can also be applied to HR professionals:
“She has no idea. The effect she can have.”
HR executives can learn a great deal from this imaginary character. Imagine the effect you can have on your workforce.
Image Credits: Hunger Games Katniss