Human Resources – A Strategic Weapon in Driving Revenue

Kimberly CongdonBy Kimberly Congdon
Regional Vice President, Human Resources
Time Warner Cable, West Region
Broads Circle Bottom Line Broads Member

As a Human Resources Executive, having to convince others of the value of our function is not a new phenomenon.  The role of HR has changed as well as the name. Many forward thinking organizations refer to the role as People and Organization or Human Capital.  Me, I really like the terminology Human Resources as long as people think about both words – Human and Resources – instead of conjuring up that nice HR lady that helps me when I have problems with my benefits.  Frankly, her job was outsourced a few years ago.  There can’t possibly be a savvy business person out there that doesn’t understand that people are expensive, but the question is: Do you view it as strictly an expense or as capital that is at your disposal to either use effectively or waste?  Once the concept of maximizing human capital instead of getting rid of expenses takes hold, you’re ready to welcome a Human Resources executive in as your partner.

In my own experience, I have been engaged in lead roles of five sweeping and dramatic organizational changes over the past 7 years.   The bigger the ship, the harder it is to turn it, and the West Region that went through those changes consisted of 9,200 people and was a little over $3billion in revenue.  Those five changes were:

  1. Cultural integration from AT&T Broadband to Comcast – changing a culture from a phone company hierarchal structure to a lean and fast moving cable entrepreneurial culture
  2. Complex M&A of 3 companies – I was the point of contact on the West Coast from due diligence through integration of Comcast and Time Warner’s purchase and trades of bankrupt Adelphia
  3. Built a new division post-merger – hired the executive team and partnered with the President to put together the go forward organizational structure
  4. Regionalized 5 divisions to create the West Region covering 5 states and 3 time zones resulting in a 15% reduction in redundant headcount and increased customer satisfaction
  5. Spin off from Time Warner Inc – working with the Chief Strategy Officer to identify the gaps, create a new mission and set of values, and instill the transference of those values into 48,000 employees

So where does the uniqueness of what a Human Resources partner can offer come in? Well, a key reason that those 5 organizational changes were successful is that our strategy included having the right talent and organizational structure in place, looking at all of the hidden employee time bombs, and capturing the hearts and minds of ALL involved.  A strong Human Resources team is in the best position to make all of those things happen.  You need that trusted advisor in the Board Room who not only understands the big picture from the C-level point of view, but is in touch with the pulse of the people who will determine whether those strategies fail or achieve maximum success.  I submit that is where Human Resources has a unique vantage point from both an intuitive standpoint as well as a driver of human capital analytics and their application to maximizing revenue.  While I have focused on the big changes, it can be much smaller.  In a recent situation, I was able to get the buy in of leaders to spend an unbudgeted $150,000 on training because through needs analysis, regular employee feedback sessions and looking at some cost drivers such as, employee relations issues, turnover and leave of absence rates, we could demonstrate that it was a good value.  The commitment was a 12 month payback through increased close rate of sales in the channel we focused on. We hit the close rate and the payback in 9 months and it continued to climb.

I would urge you to take a look at your own organization.  Are you using your Human Resources partner to drive revenue?  If not, then you and that underutilized function are likely leaving money on the table.  Also, if you are interested in more detail around what we do in Human Resources during times of great change, myself and another colleague will be speaking for the National Human Resources Association in Marina del Rey on October 20th.

LEARN MORE

I am looking forward to continuing the connections with those of you I have gotten to know and meeting those who I haven’t.  I wish all of you endless opportunities!

Best,

Kim Congdon

Contact Kim Congdon

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