HR EXECS SERVE CEOs BETTER AS STRATEGIC PARTNERS & TRUSTED ADVISORS
Human resources executives can serve their companies and CEOs better as strategic people consultants, but while most are willing and able, many frequently find themselves taking the back set in their organizations.
Successful CEOs recognize that HR can get them the right people to achieve their goals. As the top people person in the organization, the head of HR is in a position to help align the company’s most precious resource—its people—with the CEO’s vision.
An Undervalued Function
Although HR leaders manage one of the most important assets of any organization in any industry—the people—and despite companies consistently ranking human capital as a top priority, research shows HR professionals often feel undervalued or unappreciated by their bosses.
Should HR play an operational role or a strategic role in the organization?
According to Harvey Nash’s 2018 HR Survey, only half of the HR leaders surveyed, or 52 percent, believe the board of directors feels HR is “very important.” The report on global HR trends reflects the views and insights of HR directors and professionals in more than 30 countries.
A Healthy Partnership
HR can do much more than perform day-to-day HR functions such as hiring, managing benefits and ensuring compliance. Behind every successful business is an exceptional HR department and a close, dynamic relationship between the CEO and the head of HR.
Insightful CEOs are beginning to understand that HR is not just a back-office function.
This partnership contributes to the overall health of an organization. After all, people are the biggest ticket item in the budget of most companies. Insightful CEOs are beginning to understand that HR is not just a back-office function.
How to Become Your CEO’s Strategic People Consultant
Wishing for validation and that elusive seat at the C-suite table is not enough to get off the bench. HR leaders need to reverse the back-office image and, most importantly, demonstrate their strategic value. How? By solving critical business problems.
Following are 12 things HR executives can do to position themselves as strategic partners and trusted advisors.
1. Match Talent With Strategy
The head of HR should be able to deliver the talent resources required to achieve the CEO’s business goals. Minor changes in these resources can turn loss into profit or profit into loss; therefore, the data and counsel provided by HR is crucial.
2. Attract the Best Talent
HR must proactively help find and recruit the best talent. An HR pro should know how to market the company in ways that attract the finest talent in the industry, thus helping the company be more productive, competitive and profitable.
3. Ace the Onboarding Process
Do not confuse micromanaging with micro-training. The first is a waste of resources. The second saves resources. Too often companies hire the best people only to abandon them once they come on board. Then they blame new hires for not meeting expectations. Providing quality onboarding for new hires is the responsibility of HR and one way to impress the boss.
4. Make a Positive Impact on Culture
Today’s job seekers want to know more than what a job requires and what it pays. They want to know what is like to work for the company. CEOs and HR leaders should partner to create the kind of corporate culture that attracts the type of talent they seek.
5. Engage and Retain
Most companies neglect to measure employee engagement, much less manage it. This is yet another area where HR execs can excel. There are a number tools HR can use to measure employee engagement and improve it. Engaged employees are productive, happy employees. Happy employees stay.
6. Step Outside the Box
HR pros striving to get off the back seat must convince CEOs that HR can and should be more than an operational function and demonstrate its value as an executive resource. CEOs need strategic partners that bring knowledge, experience, energy, innovation and collaboration to the table.
INSIGHTFUL CEOS ARE BEGINNING TO UNDERSTAND THAT HR IS NOT JUST A BACK-OFFICE FUNCTION.
7. Question Decisions
To be effective, HR needs to be included at strategic planning meetings with other departments. Given the large volume of administrative work HR heads are responsible for, they must delegate the daily operational functions to lower-level HR staff.
CEOs need HR leaders they can trust, not just another yes- or no-person. HR execs should question and make decisions regarding the hiring, firing and managing of talent in the company.
8. Be in the Know
One way HR execs can boost their value is to be the eyes and ears of the CEO. HR leaders should know and understand employee issues throughout the company and bring these to the attention of CEOs while explaining how HR can address them effectively.
9. Stay Objective
HR execs need to be as objective and fair as possible. They should maintain neutrality throughout the organization by not getting too friendly with any one department. CEOs must be able to rely on this neutrality and trust the advice HR gives them.
10. Meet Often
Most CEOs are not familiar with everything HR can do. An HR exec, on the other hand, may not understand the CEO’s vision and long-term plans. A good partnership requires regular meetings where they can openly discuss concerns, solve problems and share ideas.
11. Offer Sound Advice
Successful CEOs typically conduct strategic planning by consulting with other C-level execs, shareholders, customers and business partners. This process should include the head of HR since a company’s ability to execute the CEO’s vision depends on worker capacity and productivity. The head of HR is in a position to help align the company’s most precious resource—its people—with the CEO’s vision.
HR execs should be ready with tactical and strategic HR information as well as solutions that can help the CEO make better business decisions.
12. Position Yourself as an Executive Resource
HR leaders should understand what keeps their CEOs up at night, how to speak their language, how the company makes or loses money, who does what when, where gaps in organizational performance are occurring, where immediate improvements need to be made. They should be able to articulate and demonstrate how HR can help deliver desired results.
Remember that information is power. You can make yourself useful as a trusted advisor and strategic partner by passing onto your CEO any relevant information that will assist him in making sound business decisions.
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Your boss will thank you.
Sources: Society for Human Resources Management, Forbes, Inside HR, Houston Chronicle, Staton Chase, The Overture Group, Onrec, Harvey Nash, Canadian HR Reporter, Entrepreneur Magazine, PNP Staffing Group, People Matters, Oracle.