Want to know how well you’ve scored on our oomphometer?
Q1 You have completed a successful HR project and won an award. Do you…
a) Sit back and bask smugly in the glory for a few weeks – no need to work too hard for a while you deserve a break after all that hard work?
You deserve to indulge in a little self-congratulation, but this doesn’t mean you can take a back seat. Use the morale boost and increased enthusiasm generated by the win to kick-start your next project. You never know, you might just win another prize. NO POINTS
b) Thank your team and allow yourself some quiet satisfaction for a job well done, but immediately start thinking about the next, even better project to develop the workforce and add value to the business?
You strive for continuous improvement and never rest on your laurels – demonstrating true oomph. You also congratulate your team, but don’t rely on awards to motivate them, instead ensuring they take pride in all aspects of their job. ONE POINT
c) Worry that you didn’t really deserve the award at all?
You need more self-confidence – you wouldn’t have won if you didn’t deserve to. This should give you a real boost and encourage you to aim even higher. NO POINTS
Q2 Do you know your company’s share price?
a) Yes, of course, you check it every few days and it comes up regularly in conversations with managers in other departments.
Well done – the rest of the business is far more likely to take you seriously if you can discuss financial issues with confidence. This is a key aspect of HR with oomph. ONE POINT
b) No, it’s not part of your role to know about the nitty-gritty of the company’s finances – that’s what the finance director is for.
Shame on you – any budget holder within a business, and HR is no exception, must be able to use and understand financial information and speak the language – not least so that you can present the clear business case for HR initiatives, produce meaningful budgets and demonstrate return on investment. NO POINTS
c) You know it, but don’t really understand what it means or why it changes.
There’s no point in being able to parrot finance-speak if you don’t understand it – you will soon be found out, damaging your oomph credentials. NO POINTS
Q3 Do you see HR as…
a) A fulfilling career managing the firm’s greatest asset, which will stretch and inspire you in equal measure?
Good for you, and you are absolutely right to think so. However, if you have spent your entire working life in HR it might be worth getting some wider business experience to boost your career even further. ONE POINT
b) It’s fine for now, but eventually you’d like to get a job in a department that makes a real difference to the company’s bottom line?
It’s admirable that you’re keen to seek experience in other areas of the business, but there is no reason why you can’t then return to HR with new insight and carve out a great career there. If senior managers believe HR is just about process and nothing to do with profit, you will be in a great position to prove them wrong. NO POINTS
c) A fluffy back-office function with no real value?
You shouldn’t be in this profession as your attitude is dragging down those around you. You cannot expect to have oomph if you don’t believe in what you do. NO POINTS
Q4 You are conducting interviews for a new role in the HR department. Three very different people have applied. Do you pick…
a) Brenda, the HR lifer, who has worked her way up the ranks and knows HR processes like the back of her hand? While she does not come across as the sparkiest applicant, you know she will be reliable.
b) Mel, the ex-sales assistant? She will need a lot of training and supervision as she has no previous HR experience, but comes with a glowing reference and is full of enthusiasm.
c) Kate, a graduate with all the academic skills on paper but no workplace experience?
There is no right answer to this one as all three could turn out to be great employees, and oomph can turn up in the most unlikely of places. However, if your HR department lacks wider business experience, this could be a great opportunity to inject that into the department. Mel sounds like she already has oomph, something that – unlike HR process – cannot be taught. ONE POINT
Q5 You think of a brilliant idea that you know will have great bottom-line implications for the company. Your managing director says no. Do you…
a) Slink back to your office, defeated?
Don’t give up so easily – have faith in your idea and don’t take no for an answer. NO POINTS
b) Throw a tantrum, threaten your MD and end up with a disciplinary warning?
Oomph means confidence, but not aggression – explain your argument rationally, as shouting will get you nowhere. NO POINTS
c) Call a follow-up meeting and provide concrete evidence that your idea will work?
This is an approach with oomph – you have not let an initial rejection get you down, but have come back with solid proof to back up your initial plan with oomph. ONE POINT
Q6 Which iconic toy do you most identify with?
You see yourself as flexible and open to influences, which can be a good thing, but don’t allow yourself to be squashed, or stretched in too many different directions – you might just snap. ONE POINT
b) Mr Potato Head.
You lack a strong identity and allow other people to impose their decisions on you. Know your own mind and be your own spud. NO POINTS
No matter how hard you are pushed, you always bounce back, which takes real oomph. TWO POINTS
Q7 A senior line manager has made a decision that you feel compromises the values your organisation professes to stand for. Do you…
a) Do nothing – it’s not your place to interfere with management decisions?
If you really believe this, then you can never hope to achieve HR with oomph. HR must believe itself to be, and act as, an integral part of the business. You are also not fulfilling your role as watchdog for the company’s values. NO POINTS
b) Report them to their superior and hope they will be fired?
You have a responsibility to this employee as well as to the wider organisation. Try to take a less aggressive approach and also have the confidence to deal with the situation yourself. NO POINTS
c) Explain your feelings sensitively to the manager and offer to set up some coaching for them?
This is an excellent way to tackle the situation, demonstrating authority, tact, good business sense and, above all, oomph. ONE POINT
Q8 Your chief executive demands endless streams of paperwork and data to prove HR’s competence. Do you…
a) See filling in forms as the best bit of the job and do this enthusiastically?
Offer case studies as well as facts and figures, and suggest that both you and the chief executive shadow various departments to see how the business really works. NO POINTS
b) Agree to complete the paperwork, but suggest alternatives to present a more rounded picture?
You see the value of metrics up to a point, but understand that this can never be the whole picture – it’s all about people, not paper. ONE POINT
c) Refuse altogether?
Paperwork is not all bad – you cannot have oomph if you don’t have solid facts and figures to prove HR’s return on investment. NO POINTS
Your oomph score
1-5 You need to work on your oomph. Get out into the business and see how other departments – such as finance and marketing – work and bring that experience back to HR. But it’s not just about learning from others – you need to really believe in HR as a great business function to bring oomph to the role.
6-8 You’ve got a healthy level of oomph and are doing lots of great things to boost it. But don’t stop now – keep on top of the business and its issues, keep enjoying the role, and your oomph factor can only increase.
9 Well done! You are brimming with oomph and presumably have oodles of wider business experience, are comfortable with figures and financial information, have full confidence in the power of HR to make a real difference to the bottom line, and are constantly selling the function to the rest of the business. However, if you actually look like a Weeble, as well as acting like one, it might be time to cut down on those networking lunches.