In the past, most organisations wrongly viewed the Human Resources department as an afterthought or a chore; mainly a tactical and transactional department which does not add much value to the company.
However, according to a study, 70 percent of HR professionals have increased the amount of time they spend on business projects on a leadership level. Thus, HR professionals of today are feeling the pressure to be more strategic. Here are some tips on how HR professionals can be more strategic in their roles:
Introduce employee self-service
One of the things that you can do in order to relieve yourself from the shackles of transactional HR is by introducing employee self-service. You will give your employees the right tools in order to manage their own records including a request for holiday leaves without filing too much paperwork. This can also mean that you will allow them to maintain and edit their own personal details.
In addition to freeing up valuable time, you will also be creating a stronger culture since you will be empowering your workforce. There are employee management systems such as advancesystems that offer employee self-service. So, if you are still using paper forms and spreadsheets, then now is the perfect time to make the switch.
Find and retain people
People make the culture of any company. Regardless of the advanced operational processes and great leaders in place, if the right people and talent are not there to manifest them into reality and results, then they are nothing more than ideas.
And it is the sacred duty of HR to help managers bring in talents. For HR to be truly strategic, they will have to put energy and time into scanning pages of the resume and bringing in the most compatible candidates, maintain actionable feedback and open communication.
They also need to put the proper documentation and protections in place in case the wrong ones need to be pushed out.
Be tech savvy
Great organisations need to have great HR leaders who are in tune with technology. Such technologies can build value while reducing transactions.
Understanding technological know-how is a must for HR professionals. You will need to incorporate an end-to-end software in the company through which HR can systematise employee information, attendance, scheduling, taxes, operating payroll and more.
This should help tracks the most important processes and saving the investment of time that otherwise given for processing and organising.
Be a good communicator
The difference between a great leader and a good professional is the ability to communicate. Remember that you are the voice of your organisation’s culture, so you need to work in order to fill that role and use the following techniques:
- Use your communication skills in order to help others communicate more effectively in a company meeting, or at community events and even in new-hire orientations.
- Adapt a speaker style and practice aloud. Stand up at every employee gatherings and report on the good stuff that your HR team is doing.
- Start or attend pieces of training which goes a long way in making you a great commanding speaker.
Although most HR departments meet with other teams “sometimes” or “often” in order to evaluate HR effectiveness, HR leaders need to aim from ad-hoc meeting to scheduled and regular evaluation session.
HR professionals should also gather feedback from c-suite professionals and other heads of departments. This is to redirect their course and correct strategies that are not getting the desired results.
Enable strategic alignment
HR professionals can strategically play various roles in creating and sustaining a business’ culture. First, HR leaders can make the greatest impact by collaborating and consulting with leadership in order to align the company’s performance management process with its values, mission, vision and core principles.
In addition, HR can also encourage leadership in order to align recognition and reward systems in order to reward positive behaviours which tie into these same areas. Lastly, HR professionals need to be a good role model and can coach other leaders.
You need to be curious enough to discover and learn what you do not know It is easy to do the stuff that we are comfortable at doing, but you will also need to learn about new things that are happening as a result of the changes throughout your profession and industry.
You need to allocate time both online as well as through networking in order to uncover new issues that may arise and the best practices and solutions in order to deal with them. Also, consider sponsoring industry and business group meetings at your company in order to allow your team to interact with others.
Next, try new things. The world is always changing and the static policies that you have been using often need updating. How many handbooks have contained “at will” language? Or mandatory arbitration? Isn’t it a little outdated? Ever wonder why there were so many lawsuits?
HR professional mostly does what has been done before, however, sometimes, there is a better way. And who better to suggest those things that strategic HR professionals?
Also, be a wise change master. The roles of HR gives you the perfect platform to lead discussions and influence change. Strict adherence to yesterday’s policy usually prevents adopting good and new things for a better company.
This is where a flexible and open mindset serves HR professionals. Plan— either for the things you want to do or for the backup plans for when things do not happen exactly as you planned.
Lastly, manage these changes well. It is one thing to find great ideas, but another to implement them. Learn the best practices of project management so that you yourself can lead such changes. Know what is available and use all the tools that you can find in order to implement your strategic plans.
Investing time in networking with other professionals in the HR field is the fastest way to increase your knowledge and skills as well as expanding business connections.
Communication and discussions with “like-minded” HR professionals are rewarding. It should give you different industry perspectives and insights that can help you build a knowledge base and be more confident to become a strategic partner to your organisation.
Widen your skill set
HR professionals need to make every effort to increase their expertise. This could be through e-learning, training courses, sector-based seminars, or simply taking up projects which are complementary to HR.
This should not only give you the necessary exposure to various verticals but also ensures that you are growing.
The aim of this study was to go beyond the visionary research, prominent within the field today, and thereby contribute to what factors enables and hinders HR reaching a strategic partnership. With numerous factors all influencing each other, there is one overarching factor that is the most critical one. It can be summarised as management decisiveness.
This refers to the will, commitment and ability to incorporate and translate people into business strategy at all hierarchical levels. HR should not stand alone, it should be incorporated as a natural part of business strategy, where management is equally responsible to meet the human capital aspects as any other aspect of business strategy.
About the Author
Ethan Thomas is the writer of this article. He is a regular contributor at many sites and mainly focuses on business-related topics. He enjoys reading business magazines in his free time.