Former GE CEO Jack Welch kicked off the annual conference of the Society for Human Resource Management with a little tough love this afternoon, offering attendees guidance on how to help steer their organizations through a tough economy while raising their own profile with senior management.
In the wide-ranging Q-and-A with Claire Shipman, Welch took HR professionals to task for playing the victim a little too often. “I’ve seen too many organizations where HR whines about their role,” Welch said.
If you want senior management to take you seriously, he said, “get out of the picnic, birthday card, and insurance forms business.”
Instead, he told the crowd, their focus should be on building trust throughout the company and developing recruitment and retention strategies that attract the best workers in good times and bad. “Your job is to raise the quality of the team.”
To keep your workers engaged, “you have to communicate like hell,” he said. And, “you talk about your real feelings. Don’t be phony.”
You also want to make sure that your company’s compensation system isn’t stale, he warned. “You get the behaviors you measure and reward.”