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Excellence in HR: It's a percentage thing

It takes a lot of commitment and passion to effectively drive the HR agenda in any organisation and those working within the profession are sure to agree it is a demanding but hugely rewarding responsibility.

In addition, HR directors today also share a responsibility to innovate, create and push forwards developments within our field, promote quality and excellence in all organisational areas and forge forwards as true business leaders who just happen to have the letters 'HR' in their job titles. Our reach and scope of impact are growing steadily and it is now more important than ever to protect our core traditional business responsibilities in addition to building our capabilities in new and emerging areas of growth.

As HR directors it is important that we maintain energy and momentum in order to facilitate change and drive progression. The HR Directors who confidently step up and take accountability and who set themselves challenging goals linked to their business strategy are proven to achieve the best results and enjoy high levels of personal success. They deliver more £s per hour in value for themselves and their employers, and they often enjoy the success of being part of high-performing teams in dynamic organisations. We all know that people who have goals and who work towards them actively achieve more, and teams that have goals that are clear and engaging achieve more too. So if you would truly like to deliver HR from a position of excellence, what are your current goals as an HR professional and where is your focus and energy being directed?

When you think about being the best you can be, and achieving everything you want to achieve, you have probably set out some targets along the way so that you can be sure you will stay on track and turn your dreams into reality.

Some things to think about:

What are the top three things you want to achieve personally in the next 12 months?

What are the top three things you want to achieve professionally in the next 12 months?

Now, next to each goal write what percentage of energy and effort you are putting in to achieving that goal. If you have written 100%, how is it that you haven't achieved these things already? Make a note so you can work on this.

Where you have any percentage that is less than 100% ask yourself why that would be and consider what it is that might be stopping you from giving 100% right now. Make a note of those things and separate the list into personal and professional.

In a work context, think about your role and the last day you were at work. What percentage of effort and energy did you put into your work? Then think about the next day you are due to work; what percentage will you give in your current role right now? If it is less than 100% for either scenario, ask yourself why that might be and make a note of anything that comes to mind. Typical explanations could be:

• You are new to the role or company and are still learning, so not 100% up to speed just yet.

• You are bored and no longer challenged by your role or engaged with it.

• There might be some technological or system issue that is holding back your progress and ability to achieve.

• Perhaps your mind is just elsewhere, with lots going on at home or some level of interpersonal conflict with a colleague.

• Perhaps you're feeling a little under the weather right now, maybe you have a cold or are just feeling run down and tired.

• Is the working environment right for you? Is your work-space set up in the right way for you to succeed?

• Perhaps someone else is making the decisions regarding your work right now. Are you empowered to make the progress you want to?

Be honest with yourself and find the answer for the missing percentages; find the block that's holding you back and write it down.

Why is this important?

If you think about your percentage contribution in terms of money, the 100% effect becomes quite clear. For example, if you earn £60,000 and you are operating from a position of excellence and with 100% energy and effort directed to achieving your goals, 100% of your time is worth £60,000. But, if something is holding you back and you happen to be operating from a position of 80% you could be losing 20% of your true potential, equating to a financial value of £12,000 over a year. For someone earning a salary of £100,000 this figure increases to £20,000!

This also works for the self-employed too. What's the value of your time, and what is your earning target for this year? When you have your earning target you have your 100% capacity value.

If you have ever led a team of people you can imagine how this would roll up if you expand this principle to five, 10 or maybe more individuals. Imagine the value of getting just 1% more energy and effort from everyone in a 10-person team where everyone made £40,000 per year. Well, 1% of £40,000 is £400 and if you could multiply that by 10 people that would give you an increased ROI energy and commitment value of £4,000 over the year. If everyone in the team could up their game by 10% you would have an added value level of £40,000 for the year! The equivalent of an additional head!

The bottom line is, people who can effectively deliver and add value in their roles go on to be more successful, and their personal wealth increases as they gain the recognition for this. They become great role models and leaders and often go on to inspire other people to put in the effort and achieve great things too! Businesses which recognise this achieve a greater ROI for their payroll spend and get a reputation for growing, maintaining and inspiring talent. They become the place where everyone wants to work. High-performing people create high-performing teams and those extra percentage contributions all go on to create a high-performance culture where people are empowered, engaged and inspired to achieve.


Identify three personal and three professional goals that you would like to achieve in the next six months. Next to each one write down what percentage of energy and effort you are putting into achieving that goal.

For any goal where you have written 100% ask yourself why you haven't already achieved that goal if you have truly been putting in 100% to achieve it.

For any goal where you have a percentage that is less than 100%, be honest with yourself and find the answer for the missing percentages. Find the block that's holding you back and write it down.

4. For any blocks that you identify, e.g. the things that are stopping you achieving those missing percentages, set yourself a deadline to resolve them. By tackling the root cause in this way you will find it easier to press ahead and achieve more.

So ask yourself honestly, do you have the capacity and desire to achieve just 1% more in your career or personal life? Perhaps you even have the capacity to achieve 5% or 10% more? Follow the steps above and you are sure to get the results you are looking for. Remember that by operating from a position of excellence you not only create it directly but you will also become a role model able to inspire and drive excellence in others too.

Karen Beaven, HR director, River Island