How HR Can Better Contribute to the Business

How HR Can Better Contribute to the Business A cartoon businessman smiles

How HR Can Better Contribute to the Business
Smart leaders seek to understand how HR can better contribute to the business.  Traditionally HR functions have operated more like a service provider to their company and have not consistently been involved in critical corporate-level strategies, decisions and investments. They were seen to live more on the implementation and soft-side of the company; and, frankly, too many HR leaders are content there.

High Performing HR Functions
Nowadays, savvy HR folks understand exactly how HR can better contribute to the business.  They know HR not only has a lot to offer, but also they are beginning to understand what it takes to get the attention of executives. Progressive HR leaders are learning to speak the language of executives in terms of business results and outcomes.

They are able to articulate what effective talent management can contribute to business performance. We define talent management as the workforce that leaders build and manage to create a unique advantage their competitors cannot replicate.  At a minimum, HR’s role should be helping their company to better attract, engage, develop and retain top talent that will thrive in their corporate culture and best execute the business strategy.

HR’s Responsibility
It becomes HR’s responsibility to ensure that their company has the human capital it needs to:

  • Compete in the current environment
  • Quickly adapt to changing requirements
  • Be ready for the challenges of the future

In essence, when HR can “up their game” to contribute meaningfully to the business, they become a true partner rather than simply a reactive (and often transactional) service provider. HR can have a measurable impact on operational and financial performance by linking talent strategies directly to business strategies.

3 Main Talent Management Buckets to Start Off on the Right Foot
Talent management involves three main buckets of information that HR can analyze to supply the insight that executives need to make sound decisions regarding their people. The quality of the information is critical – it needs to be reliable, accurate, rich and detailed. It should be analyzed in a way that supports business strategies and it should be shared across the board with those who need the results in order to make smart decisions.

1.  How Many?
HR needs to be sure that they have the right folks in the right roles and in the right amounts to execute the business plan.

2.  How Much?
HR needs to understand and report current costs and accurately forecast future workforce and compensation investments that will keep top talent in place to get the job done.

3.  How Well?
Here is where HR needs to identify the critical success metrics and competencies needed in each job category and to know how well employees are performing against performance standards. They must be able to answer questions like:

  • What is needed to improve performance, engagement and retention?
  • What kind of employee development would ensure that employees have the right skills just when or before they are needed?
  • When new employees are needed, where can they be found, brought aboard quickly and ramped up to productivity as soon as possible?

The Bottom Line
To understand how HR can better contribute to the business, HR also needs to be more proactive around change. With a clear understanding of the company’s overall strategy, HR must support that strategy through the workforce, be agile enough to adapt as needed, and provide the metrics of progress toward improved performance.

To learn more about taking your HR function to the next level, download What HR Needs to Do to Earn a Seat at the Executive Table

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