Dwane Lay

HRevolution Preview: Dwane Lay, Process Design Expert

Who’s excited for HRevolution 2013? Over the next few weeks, we’ll be sharing sneak peeks of the content you can expect in Vegas. Big thanks to the team at Reputation Capital Media for helping us create these HRevolution previews. This week, the Reputation Capital team caught up with Dwane Lay.

Dwane LayBehind every successful HR program is a fine-tuned process. To figure out just what processes they need in place, companies turn to process design experts like Dwane Lay.

Dwane is the head of HR process design at Dovetail Software and an HRevolution veteran. As a process design expert, Dwane is responsible for analyzing, defining, documenting and communicating HR processes and best practices within his company and within the HR community. He is also the author of Lean HR, a book that helps HR pros implement lean principles and practices.

Last week, we connected with Dwane to learn more about HR process design and what keeps him coming back to HRevolution.

You’re an HRevolution veteran. What keeps you coming back?

The networking and the connections. We used to think of it as our social media family reunion, but a funny thing happened when the show paired up with HR Tech. The attendees changed. Now we see new faces each time, which is great, but we also are pulling in a different type of profile. It’s less social media, though that is still prevalent, and more forward-thinking and technology savvy practitioner, not to mention the C-level executives who join us each year. It’s a unique attendee group that you don’t see anywhere else.

In a world of exponential technology growth, what advice can you give HR professionals to help them stay up-to-date with the changing technology landscape?

Three things.

  1. Know your world. Take the time to learn about your systems, your vendor partners and your total technology profile.
  2. Know your limitations. Where are you strong, and where are the gaps?  Where would a focused improvement create a lot of value for your organization?
  3. Get yourself a good partner. More than one, if you can. Get to know the players in your own IT group and project leadership team. They will be great resources for you when it is time to make a change, or at least consider one.

As a process design expert, what are some key indicators that a company needs to improve its operations?

Probably the best indicator that your processes need love is not being able to find any documentation on them.  We leave too much to tribal knowledge and hope we never lose a really important person.  Don’t worry that your processes won’t be perfect. (They won’t. A world-class transaction process is 75% waste.) But getting agreement on how things are done is the first step to deciding how to make them better.

Rebuilding an HR process can be daunting. How do you make the process more approachable?

I like a focused approach. Set your scope up front, including what you are working on and what you are NOT working on. Then, get people on the team who have no idea what the process is all about. They make it okay to ask very basic questions, which can lead to great discussion, not to mention great discoveries.

As a speaker at HR Revolution, what do you hope your audience walks away with after your session?

I’m leading a session, with help from a few friends, called “Top That.” We all know that HR people love to tell stories, as anyone who has come to an event will tell you. So we’re going to make it a structured storytelling event. We will invite attendees to tell their best story in several categories, and award prizes to the best in each. I hope the takeaways include knowing that whatever you are dealing with, you aren’t the first; whatever you dread, it could be worse; and however it may feel at times, you are not alone. We are all in this together. A few laughs wouldn’t hurt, either.

Since 2009, HRevolution has been creating unique opportunities for HR professionals, recruiters, consultants, and vendors to come together to discuss and debate the future of HR. HRevolution 2013 is on October 6 in Las Vegas. All past events have sold out, so be sure to register today!

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