Human Resources might provide essential functions to an organization, like hiring, retention, benefits, training and more — but by and large, the C-suite doesn’t see HR as strategic.
Getting a seat at the executive table isn’t impossible though. There are 5 ways HR can start proving their worth and showing their strategic and effective contribution to the organization.
1) Be a Data-Head
Gathering data or using information you already have about employees, the local workforce and current trends puts you in a position of providing knowledge that no-one else can. Taking a deep dive to look at turnover trends at your organization, compensation levels in your sector, or factors affecting employees’ well-being and job satisfaction can provide insight into new workplace strategies that can improve the bottom line. You won’t know until you start identifying questions or concerns that both employees and executives have, and then try to answer them.
2) Forecast, Budget and Save
HR is often seen as a cost-center. Salaries, training, benefits and more can add up and quickly be seen as the first place to cut corners if the organization is looking to save money. But by getting ahead of the curve and identifying places you can be a “savings-center” can show thoughtfulness and keep HR off the chopping block. Gone are the days of being able to present loose budgets and plans. You have to forecast budget needs and be active in the organization’s overall goals. For example, here at UST we help nonprofit HR find out if they can save on unemployment taxes, and we provide a 2-year savings projection they can present to the CFO and CEO or Executive Director.
3) Get in Step with Technology
We know we just said you have to find ways to save and budget, but sometimes you have to invest in technology to get ahead. Are you working with an antiquated payroll software or providing employee training that hasn’t been updated since the 1970′s? Research your options, and present your findings along with the anticipated streamlined efficiencies.
4) Look Beyond the Day-to-Day
It’s hard not to get wrapped up in everyday tasks, but any executive can tell you that’s not how they proved their worth and ascended the ranks. What is your major contribution to the future of the company? Where can you affect change? It’s likely a long-term goal, such as shifting the organization’s culture, and if you work on it every week just a little bit — you can make a difference.
5) Put the “Human” in HR
Budgets, data, technology: they all help you prove you’re a strategic thinker that belongs at the executive table. But you also have to create relationships with others in the organization and be a resource. Integrating yourself so that you’re a key person to each team or department, or individual if you’re at a smaller organization, you show that you are irreplaceable.