Back in April, we riffed on the wisdom of Home Depot slashing 1,000 jobs, taking HR Managers out of stores and reorganizing into more of a Regional structure, complete with a centralized call center for the most transactional items.
Based on what I've read from back in April and moving forward, here's where I land on the reorganization at this point. I like the transactional call center, and while I don't like the loss of 1,000 HR jobs, if Home Depot was able to upgrade the talent in the core HR Manager/HR Director role as a result, I think the plan might actually improve the quality of the HR experience at Home Depot.
My main reason for saying that? I heard from about 25 former Home Depot HR Managers, who confirmed what I thought I knew. The store HR Manager role at Home Depot, in a lot of instances, wasn't a full-fledged HR Manager. Pay was low at best - think 45-60K (which attracts more of a HR Rep experience level) - and the position was mired with transactions and volume recruiting, so even if the store was lucky enough to have an upstream HR pro in the chair, they wouldn't likely see the benefit.
So I'm hopeful the new regional roles eased some of that burden, and I'm also hopeful that HD has recruited a stronger candidate profile in the new role - maybe something along the lines of what 60-80K can buy in the HR marketplace.
Jessica Marquez from Workforce recently interviewed Tim Crow, the new Head of HR for Home Depot, and talked HR strategy. Check out the highlights below, find the entire article here, and hit me in the comments with how you feel about the Home Deport HR Strategy....
"WM (Workforce): What was the goal of the recent HR reorganization?
Crow: In 2002, when we put the HR positions in each of the stores, the objective was to create and implement common HR processes across the organization. The company had grown really fast, so we wanted to institutionalize those HR processes.
Flash forward to today. The good news is that those processes have stuck. They aren’t even HR processes anymore; they are part of the leadership model. When I talk to a store manager, they talk about talent management and career development as part of their job.
Today, the economy has changed, and we needed to make changes to be responsive to the business. It’s not about saving money and adding to the bottom line. It’s about redeploying the investment in our HR infrastructure into customer-facing hours on the sales floor. Since our store managers had done such a great job of institutionalizing HR processes, we could do that.
WM: How do you make sure that store managers don’t sweep HR matters under the rug?
Crow: Members of our district HR teams are in the stores every day. And they may be an associate relations expert, but when they walk into a store they are a generalist.
The stores are seeing their HR professionals anywhere from four to five days a week, and they aren’t doing transactional processes. They are engaging associates and working with management.
This isn’t scientific, but I was talking to some store managers in a roundtable in Arizona recently and I asked them how they liked the transformation. They said that they are seeing HR more now than they did in the past.
So listen, like any big company that is serious about associate relations, we have an Aware Line that people can call if things aren’t working. And I haven’t seen an increase in Aware Line calls since we made the change.
WM: As part of the HR reorganization, you hired 200 people for a call center to handle employees’ transactional HR questions. Why didn’t you save money and outsource it?
Crow: We stress service a lot in this company. The last thing I wanted to do was to not have our hands on the service when it comes to HR. If the Home Depot passion is about supporting each other, I’m not sure it would have made sense to outsource this.