7 ways that HR can finally get equal credibility at the C-Suite Table

HR has experienced one of the most transformative journeys of any occupational field. A field that has been traditionally transactional and administrative based has the most important job today of planning and implementing People strategy at work. Even though this newly emerging brand and demand is on the rise, many HR teams continue to struggle to rise to the occasion. The discussion of how HR can get respect in the C-Suite still exists, when the conversation should be migrating to how can HR set the C-Suite table. There are seven important steps that any HR organization must take in order to gain equal credibility at the C-Suite level.
Support and Inform the Business Strategy: The work that is completed within the HR operations should be directly aligned with the strategy and vision of the CEO and organizational goals. Any executional work that is not directly supporting the overall business strategy is not only a waste of time, but can do harm. The harm exists in the loss of business credibility, productivity hours and wasted dollars. Very importantly, though not as often mentioned, HR should inform business strategy. We always say that people are the most important asset, however, what does that mean manifested? It means that all important activities rely people to get them done. Whenever an organization changes direction whether it is direction in culture, acquisition/ merger, product specialization, the organization should first ensure that the people component already existing is going to take the organization to that goal. If the correct people are not there and in the appropriate roles, then all other desires is a moot point. Develop Meaningful Business Cases: In almost any other field, a viable business case must be developed, presented and approved prior to the investment of significant dollars. There are critical HR investments needed today in most organizations in order for them to even remain stable a decade from now, Strategic Workforce Planning, Employee Engagement, Succession Planning to name a few. HR, just like any other field should be able to express the need for investment in the same $ language used in the rest of the organization. When the appropriate $ language is not used, HR is shortchanged and very important and critical Human Capital investments are not made.
In accord, Develop Relevant HR and Operational Metrics: Metrics is a way for HR to display our successes and value added contributions, address our areas of opportunities and to communicate in the same language as the rest of the company. Almost any goal can be deemed successful or unsuccessful if there is no accompanying objective measure for it. Keep it Simple for the Business. Our revenue generating partners within the organization are very focused on specific $ goals and HR typically is not one of them. The simpler that we can make our messaging and operations- tied directly to their goals and not only our ivory tower fantasies, the more likely, they are going to partner with us and implement what we propose.
Go- native. Going native was a terminology that we used in graduate school when someone would research an area so immensely that their thought process would become one with the subjects being researched within that area. In terms of HR within the corporate structure, going native is a great thing. Get your people immersed into the business field so that they are on the same team. Encourage them to spend time in the meetings, the field and even operate outside of the HR hat in order to fully appreciate the role. Cross- pollination. Don’t be afraid to cross- pollinate within HR. HR should be the most qualified at assessing potential employees for skillsets that are transferrable. However, we are very discriminative when it comes from hiring outside of HR. Being an industry that has been traditionally at a disadvantage when it comes to speaking the same language of the business, we can significantly benefit from diverse business skillsets within our teams.
Exercise our Confidence and Voice. HR is no long the secretary of the organization. We are not only hear to take notes and push papers. Be confident in your Human Capital expertise and generously share your HR strategy in order to ensure that your organization takes the best informed and most comprehensive strategic directions.
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