Magazine article Workforce

Use HR Systems as Drivers of Strategy

Magazine article Workforce

Use HR Systems as Drivers of Strategy

Article excerpt

WORKFORCE talked with Greg Thomson, senior vice president of human resources at Owens-Corning, about the Rewards and Resources program. The highlights:

Q: How do you see the Rewards and Resources program fitting into the company's strategic plan?

A: Rewards and Resources is a direct result of one of our six strategy elements that are designed to have the reward system drive the strategic initiatives. We use all of the human resources systems and processes as either levers for change or drivers of the business strategy.

Q: In putting together this huge undertaking to totally revamp a system and to start with a clean slate, what lessons would you share with other human resources professionals?

A: We learned a couple of things. We definitely learned it takes a certain level of courage to say, "I'm going back to a clean piece of paper." Then we learned the payoff for that is virtually unlimited possibility. But, we also learned the cost of that is that it's a huge change when it comes to communicating to employees and to managers how they can use the reward system in the total scope of compensation and benefits to drive the business strategy.

Q: What was the greatest implementation challenge?

A: You're kind of doing two things at one time. You're changing the way you deliver compensation and benefits. You're linking it to the business result and you have to talk to people about the business results you intend for them to produce. It takes a lot more effort and energy to implement than we anticipated-and we thought it was going to take a fair amount.

Q: What impediments did you encounter in designing and implementing this new process?

A: The biggest impediment early on to the change process was [getting] the [internal] HR community itself [on board]. I remember being at a meeting of my top-60 human resources people in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and one of the Rewards and Resources folks was in the front of the room talking about this new program. …

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