HR professionals are analytical. We love data, and we love to review it carefully before making decisions. Organizations move at different paces, though: some make decisions quickly, some take too long to decide, and some can never reach a decision. Each of these approaches can strongly affect organizations in different ways.
The Quick Decision
Sometimes in HR we must act fast to ensure that we get what we want. If we don’t move on something right away, our budgets may be slashed. Fear of a domino effect that affects other business units can also force us to make decisions quickly (e.g., “If we don’t hire this salesperson today, we won’t have someone in that role to sell our product—which can hurt our earnings for Q4”). When we don’t have the luxury of time to consider a decision, we take action based on the available data.
The Decision That Takes Too Long
I see this type of decision all too often in HR. Waiting to get buy-in from all relevant parties ends up frustrating our business partners, our clients, and our candidates (and it’s particularly annoying when the decision is stalled because of one holdout). This sort of delay ultimately brings down an organization’s morale. It also hurts the recruitment process: such slowness gives us a bad reputation in the marketplace, which in turn makes it difficult to attract the right candidates.
Nothing frustrates me more than the “nondecision.” A “not at this time” decision is okay, but a total lack of decision can kill organizations. It would be great if HR had a crystal ball and could know exactly how decisions will work out, but we don’t. The best we can do is use the data we have now to make educated guesses about the future. Making no decision at all because we’re analyzing data too much (or waiting for even more data to come in) will only hurt us in the long run.
Your Organization’s Decisions
What kinds of decisions are made in your organization? Once you’ve come up with a honest assessment of your decision-making process, ask yourself this follow-up question: what kinds of decisions should be made in your organization? The answer to that lies in what Sawyer’s mother said to him: we need to make some sort of decision. We don’t always make the right ones—and we often make mistakes. But we should all strive to make well-thought-out decisions in a timely manner.