Making Your Organization's Business Plan A Reality

Tags: Hilton

Husein Panju

In this exclusive interview, HRIQ speaks with Husein Panju, Director of Human Resources at the Hilton Kuwait Resort. He has been in the Learning & Development and Human Resources field since the past 14 years. He has headed Human Resources & Training functions at various locations, 6 countries, working with a diverse team of individuals from over 40 nationalities, his experience includes opening, brand exit and running hotels successfully in the Human Resources and Training functions.

At your organization, how do you use HR to drive business in all areas? What steps do you take to align HR strategies with organizational goals and deliver value to stakeholders?

A successful recipe for an HR function should have one primary objective at the epicenter, which is turning business strategies into HR priorities.

It is all too easy to lose sight of the bigger picture, the effectiveness of HR is not in creating spectacular standalone HR plans, but in making the organization’s business plan a reality.

It must be understood-- irrespective of all the different hats HR professionals wear, all the numerous roles they play and the countless wonderful things they do on a daily basis-- that being successful depends on creating value for your customers. Delivering value to customers, both external and internal on a consistent basis for every occasion can make or break organizations.

The indisputable fact of any enterprise is that customers have always and will continue to always create wealth and serve as the reason for existence. Logically, every business is in the rat race of creating organization capabilities, and putting it very simply, asking and finding answers to the question "what are the capabilities that my organization requires in order to create value for my customers?"

Value is created through a combination of important organizational resources and each of these are areas of opportunity for HR functions to shape their plans around and ensure they drive the business forward and build all around capability.

Take the example of the hotel industry and more importantly an undoubtedly global hospitality leader, Hilton, one that I am extremely proud to be part of. We strive to color our guest’s experience into a positive memory by combining three main ingredients:

Simple guest friendly processes & work flow policies, scalable technology and the best people. This does not merely happen on its own and takes commitment and engagement of every single aspect of the guest’s journey, all these resources should operate to their optimum in a seamless manner and equally importantly on a consistent basis, leaving the guest with a sense of value and fulfillment. "If its Hilton, I know exactly what I’ll get and they won’t let me down."

Finally, leverage HR activities in order to create and sustain organizational capability.

How you would identify the way to move your strategies forward by evaluating the progression of training and development programs?
Best people are imperative in the value creation chain and learning/development is an essential part and parcel of building their capabilities. In my view, a well-rounded training function should complement HR strategies and unarguably contribute to the success of the business at large. Effective L&D should not be restricted to the run-of-the-mill classroom existence: on the contrary, it should focus on the following priorities: playing a major role in building and shaping organization culture; driving change; focusing on building competency in Front line supervisors and leadership development; being an ambassador of employee empowerment and advocate for customer biased workflow procedures, quality standards, enhanced employee awareness, engagement in the organization’s business goals, and retention.

What are some of the core strategies that have transformed your HR department into a business partner?

If you are not already there, then focus on getting yourself a seat at that table where strategies and business goals are formulated and worked upon. This involves a self evolution and changing the perception of internal customer from viewing HR as a traditionally administrative function to a commercially driven strategic business partner. Some helpful things to consider that will get you and help you stay there are :

  • Contribute in every way to be perceived as a strategic partner and an organizational consultant.
  • Build credibility and demonstrate integrity in the way you work.
  • Devise HR plans from the organization’s business goals.
  • Go out of your way, stretch yourself beyond the HR role in order to partake in business and commercial activities.
  • Act and ensure your team is perceived as strong role models when it comes to upholding values and culture within your organization.
  • Leverage HR priorities to align with building organizational capabilities in procedures, technology and people.
  • Use a balanced scorecard and seek to enhance HR contribution in the areas of people, profit, quality and customer satisfaction.
  • Participate in continues professional development through L&D for your organization and yourself.
  • Ensure that you evaluate your actions in terms of return on investment and make informed decisions utilizing budgetary information when planning HR activities.
  • Strive to enhance team member experience at every opportunity.
  • Create a learning and recognition culture throughout your organization, source and recruit best talent, reward and retain.
  • Quantify the value of your department on an ongoing basis through key measures and metrics. Use analytical information when developing and presenting HR objectives and business plans.