Recruiting News

5 Key Steps to a “Next Practices” HR Business Value Model

The “inflection” point for HR is here, says Consultant Scott Hamilton. In business today, disruption is closer than you think, from recruiting to development, companies need next practices ideas, processes, concepts, and solutions that move us beyond the “status quo.”

We have to go beyond “how are others doing it best” to “where do we go from here that represents a true fundamental shift in value,” says Hamilton, who is CEO of NextWorks/Executive Next Practices Institute (NEXT).

5 Steps to NEXT

Hamilton’s five steps are:

  1. Articulate the mountaintop
  2. Optimal way, not the legacy way
  3. Break it for breakthroughs
  4. Contextual, engaged energy—true global alignment
  5. Commit, measure, and pivot timely


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1. Articulate the Mountaintop

Take the HR or company vision and focus it, says Hamilton. One of the greatest examples of this is John F. Kennedy when he said: “We’re going to send a man to the moon and return him safely.” The mountaintop says where you’re going and how it’s going to work. It should be a touchstone document.

People must “experience” what it is you want to them to do and relate to it, Hamilton says.

2. Optimal Way (Not the Legacy Way)

Seek the optimal way to get to the mountaintop. Seeking the optimal solution, Hamilton says, often means abandoning the legacy way.

3. Break It for Breakthroughs

For real HR value creation, Hamilton says, ask (or brainstorm answers to) the following four questions:

  • Eliminate. Which practices can you eliminate that your industry has long competed on?
  • Raise. Which practices/policies should be raised well above the industry’s standard?
  • Reduce. Which benefits should be reduced well below the industry’s standard?
  • Create. Which practices should be created that the industry has never offered?

Hamilton uses Cirque du Soleil vs. a traditional touring tent circus as an example:

Take your team through the four questions, says Hamilton.


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4. Tap Your “Contextual IQ”

This is the Holy Grail, Hamilton says. Global profitability is driven by contextual IQ—the collective wisdom of your team. They are oriented to your business, your industry, and your customers.

But beware of “collaborative centers,” he says. He encountered one organization that devoted their entire 4th floor to collaboration, architecturally organized to promote collaboration. The only problem was, employees were afraid to go there—it was empty.

5. Alignment

Where are we going?

Do not underestimate the lack of understanding by everyone else! Take a moment to analyze how others see your plan.

Your plan should go from “the boardroom to the loading dock,” Hamilton says.

Begin with what you control—your team, your customers, and your market. Consider a quarterly off-site meeting with your executive team, says Hamilton. Quarterly is important because of market velocity, Hamilton says.

In tomorrow’s Advisor, we will present five trends plus some spectacular failures of companies that didn’t keep up, plus an introduction to BLR’s new HR Playbook: The Total Rewards Framework: Build Loyalty, Engagement, and Retention.