HR, please give me a menu!

Illustration: Studio Fee Overbeeke

HR: preacher or waiter?

Recently I met with the HR team of an organisation, where they had just got a new CEO. This new CEO had given the HR Chief a clear assignment. “In my last organisation”, he said, “HR took a very moralistic approach. Their view was: we know what the leaders and the managers in the organisation should do. The leaders want HR to do things they do not like, but HR constantly addressed the responsibilities in a clear way. Leaders should lead, HR should advice. From now on I would like a different approach”, the CEO continued. “I want our people to be able to ask HR what they want. HR should provide us with a menu we can choose from. I do not want HR to tell us what we should do, I want HR to be very service oriented, treat us as customers and act more as a high level restaurant or hotel, than the preacher in a church (“Thou shall coach your people!”).

The menu of HR

The HR team had spend a first workshop on the design of the HR menu. They allowed me to take a copy of the first draft version. Comments and suggestions most welcome, they said. There are no real prices in the menu yet. The dollar signs are just an indication of the price levels of the menu items (from cheap $ to expensive $$$$$).

Recruitment & Selection

  • Specifying requirements for job or role ($-$$)
  • Approaching candidates (personal: $$, via chatbot: $)
  • Selection interview (free, as this is a mandatory item on the menu)
  • Job offer ($$)
  • Informing team that we will look externally for candidates ($$)


  • Keeping in touch with new employee between hiring and first day on the job (personal: $$$, via app: $)
  • Creating a fantastic first day on the job ($$)
  • Making sure the new employee has something to do during first weeks ($$$$)

Mood measurement

  • Management by walking around ($$-$$$$$)
  • Weekly pulse survey via app ($$)
  • Annual engagement survey ($$$)
  • Pleasing your boss ($$$$$)


  • Quick check in ($)
  • More extensive check in ($$)
  • Firing employee ($$$$)
  • Announcing promotion ($)
  • Announcing bad news to individual employee ($$-$$$$$)
  • Announcing bad news to team 1-10 employees ($$-$$$$$)
  • Giving a compliment (e-mail: $, personal: $$)
  • “Isn’t time for a new new opportunity” conversation ($$)
  • Visiting ill employee at home ($-$$$$, depending on illness and distance)

Goal setting & Feedback

  • Individual goal setting ($$)
  • Goal setting for team ($$$)
  • Positive feedback on max 2 items ($)
  • Negative feedback on 1 item ($$$)
  • Being present at annual review ($$)
  • Conducting annual review ($$$$)


  • Joining a panel in a senior management program ($-$$$, dependent on location)
  • Preparing general leadership presentation ($$)

Talent management

  • Keeping high potentials happy ($$$)
  • Asking talented employee to stay longer in the job than agreed ($$$)

Workers Council

  • Keeping the workers council happy ($$$$$, for Germany: please ask for price)
  • Sitting through long meetings with the workers council (per day, $$$)

People Analytics

  • Monthly HR report with the usual items ($$)
  • More in depth analysis ($$$)
  • Explaining lagging HR PKI’s ($-$$$, dependent on issue)





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