Human Resources leaders often feel they are treated like clerical administrators. This is usually because they let themselves be seen that way. Advancement and career opportunity opens for them when they can demonstrate the financial value added to the business.
To be taken seriously, they must immerse themselves in all aspects of the business; know the business top to bottom, front door to back door. Until then, their HR Department will not be invited to participate effectively in business success discussions and decisions.
Become a strategic partner
Once HRIS programs have swallowed up payroll and benefits administration, data storage, and assessment calendars, it is HR’s job to become a strategic partner in a for-profit environment. Now that corporate leaders are being held accountable in a transparent value system, CEOs are looking to HR leadership for supportive strategic information.
– Write a strategic HR plan that develops leadership and plans succession with a focus on efficiencies and outcomes rather than on the administrative and policy side.
– Communicate with senior management, assertively and knowledgeably, on issues of cash flow, the burden and benefit of human capital, and short and long-term compensation issues.
– Train HR staff in corporate finances for the non-financial professional. Help them to understand the financial performance of the company and how HR decisions affect it in terms of recruiting, hiring, placement, training, and assessment.
– Direct staff in how sales and marketing value customers, how operations values timeliness and motivation, how quality processes link employee and customer.
– Help them understand how they serve internal and external customers.
Include financial outcomes in HR job descriptions and performance assessments as well as in HR Department annual goals. When you turn HR Department staff into full partners in meeting financial goals, you grow their jobs as well as your own.
Take the lead
You have to take the lead from the CEO. If the CEO is close-minded about HR’s contribution, the only thing senior management wants is clerical and digital reports on the burden represented by the labor force. The CEO wants advice when and only when s/he asks for it. And, s/he demands an explanation when there is trouble among the troops.
However, you are positioned to have a great impact on the company’s bottom-line. If you are stuck in a mode of employee advocacy, you confirm this CEO’s image of HR. You build your own silo which does not benefit you or the company. To avoid this:
– Redirect your own department towards active partnership with other departments on budgets and performance outcomes. For example, do not recruit to fill a spot; recruit to that department’s specific financial goals. Using the knowledge you learned when pursing your Human Resources degree will unquestionably help you with this process.
– Anticipate personnel needs of other departments. For example, inform department heads on the trends in advance of a fiscal quarter showing the labor burden in detail making suggestions on department options.
– Assert HR’s impact on bottom line issues. For example, if you communicate monthly with employees on issues of importance to them, take the time to communicate fiscal concerns, such as training and benefits costs, to leadership.
– Self-promote strategic HR plans on cost savings. For example, educate leadership on the cost benefits of active risk management or a change in the HRIS.
A strong Human Resources presence will radically affect a business’ performance outcomes to the extent that HR leadership becomes an invested partner in business making decisions. Otherwise, the HR Department remains passive and merely administrative.