The role of the HR professional is in a state of flux. Forward-thinking businesses are realizing the value of HR and are finding new ways to involve HR in strategy execution.
Business owners are realizing that HR has never been more necessary. Companies are constantly trying to find a new edge and different ways to reengage their workforces while streamlining corporate processes. These are hefty goals, and HR is the key to developing new strategies, implementing them, and linking the adoption of these plans to the overall organizational goals.
HR professionals are the link. They are the ones who—when inspired and supported—want to take on these challenges and ensure your business is as productive as possible. Your HR team should be defined not by the traditional transactional work they currently perform, but by the results they are able to deliver and how they boost your company’s value to your employees, partners, and customers. What do you need to do to transform HR into a more strategic branch of your business?
Automate All Transactional Functions
Before you can incorporate your HR department into your company operations at a higher level, you need to ensure HR leaders have the time to expand their roles. This means tedious tasks and repetitive duties need to be automated whenever possible. The typical administrative functions of HR must be made as simple and streamlined as possible to increase efficiency and spare up time for your HR team to introduce office strategies and implement new programming.
Adding resources and technology that remove manual tasks and reduce paperwork allows HR professionals more time to set a strategic direction and begin larger projects. For HR leaders to move from a more administrative-focused role into this new strategic position, HR efficiency must improve. There are dozens of processes within HR that can be completed faster and more efficiently. With a human resource information system (HRIS) and other cloud software, employees can manage their own paperwork including completing online benefit enrolment forms and other files themselves. With this type of software, HR professionals won’t be spending half their day on paperwork or following up on employees who haven’t followed policy or require answers to questions.
No matter the size of your business, every HR department handles a wide range of tasks and functions. Both large and small businesses can gain efficiency simply by identifying processes that are ineffective and finding ways to take them off HR’s plate, so they have the time to work on organizational programs and goals.
Involve HR in Overall Corporate Strategy
Every day, HR professionals are talking and working with employees at all levels of the organization. To have meaningful conversations and be more valuable, they need a solid grasp on the entire organizational picture. Business owners need to use HR as a more vital part of the company and include them as strategic partners in the organization.
To increase the overall balance between everyday work and overall business objectives, HR professionals need a full understanding of your business goals. By gaining more time through automation, the HR team can now work to support your business plans. However, they need to be involved and understand all aspects of the business while having the ability to use their expertise to find creative ways to meet company goals. As a business owner, you should be sharing your 5-year plan with your Director of HR so that your goals can be met through effective people strategies.
HR professionals are in constant connection with the rest of your business, and if their strategies aren’t aligned with your overall company goals, success will be impossible. By increasing the level of engagement HR has with the corporate strategy, you can increase HR’s ability to generate buy-in of your company’s direction from the entire workforce. When HR professionals understand how business decisions are made, it makes it easier for them to recognize how they can contribute. Simple acts like sitting in on sales meetings or marketing strategy sessions can help HR professionals spot gaps and inefficiencies that might not be obvious to other departments.
Increase Data Collection and Analysis
Your HR department should be analyzed and optimized just like your sales team. Business owners looking to use HR in a more strategic way must decide what exactly they are looking for and how they want to measure it. Whether your goals are to lower hiring costs, increase onboarding efficiency, or implement new staff programming, business owners need to decide how they will measure the success and progress of these projects and ensure they have the systems in place to gather data and to measure progress effectively.
Human resource information systems are becoming more affordable and allow HR professionals to compile, track, and analyze workforce data. Not only will this automate simple tasks, but HR departments can use this data to identify inefficiencies and come up with targeted solutions to solve these issues. These tools and resources can not only help HR leaders excel at their jobs and streamline their processes, but it also makes it much easier for them to come back with real data-driven results, rather than anecdotal evidence.
HR professionals are often tasked with proving the worth or impact their strategies have on the workplace. As a business owner, the easier it is for you to make a decision based on real ROI data, the better. Why not make it as simple as possible for your HR department to get you these answers? Not only does it save the HR team’s time, but investing in an HRIS also makes it more straightforward for managers, executives, and owners to make crucial and timely decisions.
Remove the HR Department from Its Silo
When bogged down with unnecessary or tedious tasks, the HR department may begin processes and never finish them. Alternatively, they may get projects off the ground but be unable to be hands on during the adoption process. This may mean plans never come to fruition, processes aren’t followed up on, or impacts aren’t measured. This can quickly lead to employee apathy towards new systems and processes
To use your HR department as a strategic arm of your business, HR leaders need to be constantly on the lookout for ways to raise efficiency. This means they must get out from behind their desks and talk to employees and managers at all levels to get a better picture of overall processes and procedures. HR professionals need the time and access to speak to workers throughout the company and understand and work with many different departments to find solutions that work for everyone.
The function of your HR department needs to evolve to take advantage of everything HR professionals have to offer. With investments in a time-saving HRIS and other HR technologies, your HR team will have the room for more strategic planning. By collaborating and being involved in executive meetings and seeking their input on organizational goals and business direction, they can design creative strategies to help you meet these goals faster and with enhanced employee buy-in.
This new direction for HR is possible. When HR professionals are empowered to listen to and engage with all employees, they are able to use this feedback, through both these discussions and increased data collection, to better inform management’s decision making. No matter the size of your business or your current HR function, it’s vital to rethink how you could be better utilizing your HR team.