Nearly all HR professionals want to be viewed as a welcomed and trusted advisor to their key business partners. The phrase ‘having a seat at the table’ truly captures the essence of that desire. However, there is often one thing holding the HR leader back…that is credibility.
In order to truly be valued, HR professionals must be able to analyze data and speak the language of their key stakeholders. In truth, HR professionals should be viewed as functional experts and partners to the business units, much the same way that corporate finance is viewed. However, HR professionals typically have big gaps in business analytics, business planning, project management, and customer relationship management.
Improved analytical skills would allow HR professionals to be better at predicting future workforce requirements, tracking performance outcomes, and calculating the return on investment of HR projects or initiatives.
Obtaining the knowledge of business is only part of the equation. Equally important is that HR has to regularly demonstrate to business leaders that they are on the team and truly has the best of interests of the business at heart. Too many times HR is only seen as the "employee advocate" or the "corporate police force." In fact, I hear many HR leaders describe the role of HR to sit in between management and the employees, almost admitting they aren't really part of the management team, relegating itself to some sort of ombudsmen role. To be effective HR has to be an active player on the senior management team, helping the company maximize the talent aspect, while also minimizing legitimate risks.
Another area in which HR professionals frequently struggle is identifying and prioritizing which projects to push forward to the organization. Generally, HR teams are conducting too many initiatives, often with mediocre results. Conducting too many projects dilutes the effectiveness of each initiative, and wastes valuable resources. HR professionals and their teams would benefit greatly from ‘Doing less, better.’
When deciding which projects (or initiatives) are top priorities, answer these three questions:
Bottom line, we hear from many HR professionals that their leadership team just doesn't support "HR Stuff." Some places may be a lost cause, however most are not, and what's typically missing is confidence in either the HR leader or the HR solution. What's not missing is a desperate need for an active HR presence to help attract and retain the kind of talent necessary to propel their company forward.
Reach out to me at Tom Sheehan if you would like guidance on increasing your HR department's credibility and effectiveness.
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