A Seat at the Table: Five Ways HR Can Find a Place Within the C-Suite

From new recruiting practices to innovative programs that increase employee productivity and engagement, the role of HR is increasingly strategic – at least it should be.

Key Points:

  • Transactional tasks too often keep HR professionals from playing a more strategic role in their businesses.
  • HR has to embrace technology to support the needs of both employees and the company.
  • To remain competitive, Human Resource professionals must help to guide the strategic direction of their companies.

Human Resources is about people and so are HR professionals. But as many tenured HR pros will tell you, most of their time is spent stuck in a limbo of paper, processes, and personalities.

“HR stands for Human Resources. Every company is powered by humans. Nothing but human ingenuity and passion can make your company grow or thrive, but people are too often overlooked in the practice of HR.”—Liz Ryan, CEO, Human Workplace

This explains why for the past several years, the term “Strategic HR” has gained momentum.

Most HR professionals long to get away from the doldrums of administrative tasks and into the realm of strategic planning. Luckily, this want corresponds to a direct need: Human Resources departments must be strategic to keep up with the requirements of a competitive business landscape.

HR leaders know they are capable of operating more strategically than they do today, but less than 20% of them are seen as strategic partners. HR must earn a seat at the C-Suite table to help guide the strategic direction of their companies. Here are five ways to do it.

1. Know the Business

Indispensable HR professionals know that a company’s most valuable asset is its people. For this reason, attracting, retaining, and nurturing talent must be intertwined with organizational business goals.

Strategic HR pros must communicate with leadership to ensure that Human Resources strategies are aligned with the company’s long- and short-term objectives. This means HR needs to have a handle on the business’s key performance metrics and combine their knowledge of the company with their understanding of the people that make up an organization. In this way, HR can devise innovative solutions to complex business problems.

2. Intelligent Recruiting

The goals of recruiting used to be pretty narrow, focusing entirely on filling open positions. Today, hiring is about much more than filling seats and HR’s role in this process has never been more critical. HR has to make sure the right talent is hired (and retained) to achieve the company’s overall business goals. This means leveraging data to uncover talent gaps and creating recruitment strategies to assemble teams of workers that will achieve positive business outcomes.

By leveraging data, HR pros can make educated hiring and recruiting decisions to be confident that hired candidates will be the right fit.

3. Boost Employee Engagement and Productivity

There is no denying the correlation between employee engagement and productivity: low engagement leads to low productivity. To evaluate and improve productivity, however, HR has to understand the current state of employee engagement and, more critically, know the factors that negatively impact engagement.

Strategic HR departments conduct employee engagement surveys and carefully analyze their findings to uncover company-wide issues and where precisely those issues come from, like departments, locations, or employee demographics. When HR has a clear understanding of the root of the problem, intelligent solutions can be developed to address them.

Conversely, when HR identifies what works, more effort can be invested in those areas and the policies and processes can be replicated across the entire company.

4. Manage Security to Reduce Business Risk

Cybercriminals are organized and sophisticated and their tactics are ever-changing. As companies move business-critical functions to the cloud, the ways that hackers can attack continue to broaden. Successful hackers use a combination of technology and knowledge of human nature to expand and adapt their tactics. This strategy allows them to move past traditional defenses and can catch people completely off guard.

Businesses must devise intelligent security solutions, which must always include employee education. Employees are both a company’s first line of defense and their greatest weakness. Because of this, HR plays a strategic role in protecting an organization.

5. Become a Paperless HR Department

Human Resources departments are notorious for being buried in paper. Fortunately, improved technology makes it possible for HR to automate administrative processes and, in many instances, remove paper altogether. New HR software (like SentricHR) is transforming the workplace, helping to usher in this new era of strategic HR. With less paper shuffling, HR professionals will have the time to focus on strategy.

“Technology experts and HR professionals say implementing computer-based systems that eliminate the need for paper can save time and money. Such systems significantly reduce the storage space needed. And they are designed to accommodate the vast and changing array of compliance issues that keep HR professionals awake at night.”—Steve Bates, SHRM

Administrative tasks are always going to be a part of Human Resources – that’s the job. But to meet business requirements and earn a seat at the table with leadership, HR has to embrace technology to support the needs of both employees and the company.

Let’s make sure that the HR department isn’t just a tactical business function. Strategic, people-focused HR is the future.

Transform your business with a tool that helps you manage more than data. Get in touch for a demo of SentricHR.

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