What You Need to Know
A typical HR department has a wide variety of responsibilities encompassing what we at 3Sixty Insights term concrete and abstract human capital management (HCM). Concrete HCM refers to the nuts and bolts, such as payroll and timekeeping. These processes are indisputably important, and fundamental to the employee experience, but they are must-haves—baseline boxes that must be checked, not differentiators. Abstract HCM refers to the more human-centric elements of HR, such as employee development and recognition (3Sixty Insights BWSRN2142 – “Concrete vs. Abstract HCM: The Power of ‘And’,” April 2021). These are the differentiators, the features and benefits that not only set a desirable employer apart from the crowd of others vying for the same talent in the same job market, but also promote retention.
There are many ways to refer to the abstract side of this equation. There is the idea that business must practice efficiency and empathy in managing the employment of people. And, when it comes to the abstract side, the empathy, there are distinct macro-outcomes that set the stage for organizational perpetuity. For example, isolved refers to the Three P’s: Positivity, Productivity, and Profitability.
And yet, because concrete HR checks the boxes and is critical to compliance, it must take priority. In an under-resourced HR department, any HR team will back-burner abstract HCM in favor of concrete, as it is ultimately very difficult or impossible to focus on abstract HCM and practice empathy within the context of HCM if inefficiencies abound. After all, while failing to provide employee development opportunities this month might eventually ding your retention, that’s something you can catch up on next month, whereas failing to process payroll will certainly cause employees to quit and probably get you fired — and there go your chances at building that great employee development plan next month. By definition, the must-haves come before the nice-to-haves.
3Sixty Insights wrote this report to show what happens when the administrative load on HR is drastically lightened. With the right solution in place, this non-profit’s HR leader was able to automate the must-haves and turn her attention to the nice-to-haves — the elements capable of transforming a workforce.
About the Participant
Boys & Girls Clubs of America is a nonprofit organization comprising a national federation of locally governed clubs. Each location operates autonomously but also holds a charter with the larger Boys & Girls Clubs of America; this provides guidelines and entitles the local clubs to certain types of support, such as allowing them to benefit from fundraising conducted on a national level.
In the context of Boys & Girls Clubs, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Skagit County, in Washington State, is considered a small organization. Skagit Clubs is made up of ten locations across the county, operating on a shared budget of about $5 million. An eleventh location is slated to open by the summer of 2023. Around 75 employees are sufficient to staff morning and after-school programs during the school year, and the workforce is bumped up to 85-95 during the summers, when the clubs run all-day programs.
3Sixty Insights spoke with Sarah Arquitt, Vice President of Administration. Arquitt has worked at the Skagit Clubs for nine years; she previously volunteered for the organization, where she was also what’s known as a Club Parent, and she fell in love with the mission. She brought with her experience from her work as a supervisor at a large medical insurance company
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