The HR Turnaround Specialist or Maintenance Specialist?

Many HR professionals look at themselves as maintenance people but there are a choice few that see themselves as turnaround specialists. Keeping everything status quo is what most HR professionals would do when going into a new company. Those choice few see this as a great opportunity to really excel when they are faced with broken down systems, dysfunctional teams, poor management, benefits that have not been looked at for years, unfunded pensions, decreasing revenues, and poor to market products. Think of yourself as a turnaround artist when you go into a new company. Look at this new job as an opportunity to start with a clean slate and begin making your mark.  Here is what you should do think about, do, change, or move when you get settled into your new role:

  • review the benefit contracts and dissect the costs against claims and historical experience. Call in a trusted actuary to review the details of the contract, funding, and measure against local or regional increases;
  • assess the talent flow-in and recruiting process and streamline as needed or replace particular broken areas and make sure you have a solid applicant tracking system. Also make sure social media recruiting is in the mix;
  • assess the talent within the organization with particular emphasis on senior and middle management groups. Make sure the right people are in the right spots. Don't be afraid to bring in new people and in some cases people you know and trust;
  • make sure that the senior team are all on the same page with the CEO;
  • Make a quick determination on the HR staff's talent and what value they bring to the business;
  • Streamline with the VP of Product Management the go to market process and the internal development process of new products both hardware and software. You ask why should you do this, well because you are a business partner and should be involved in as aspects of the business;
  • determine if IT is a help to the organization or hindrance, and if the latter, make the appropriate changes;
  • meet with the CFO and get a handle on the budgets and talk through the issues you need to address from a financial prospective;
  • Make sure you have all the appropriate systems in place to add value to the organization; and
  • finally but not last of course, survey the organization to see where HR has missed opportunity and what their prospective is and adjust as necessary;
  • conduct brainsteering sessions with senior management. 
I hope this helps those who move into new company roles. Send me an email to expand on these issues at


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