HR departments have a seemingly endless list of “to-do’s”. Finding the best talent in an increasingly competitive global talent pool, ensuring legal compliance when it comes to freelancers, engaging and retaining star employees, and dealing with the day-to-day challenges of organizations both large and small.
What often slips through the cracks is arguably the most vital role of any HR department: being a driver of organization-wide strategy, and bringing a powerful and data-driven perspective to the Board.
In this article, we’ll explore the challenges facing HR teams, and how these challenges get in the way of the strategic opportunities for HR. We’ll discover how leading HR departments have ensured that their unique organizational perspective is effectively leveraged to provide a powerful strategic advantage to their Boards.
HR: Operationally Efficient
For many HR leaders, just keeping the ship afloat takes up much of their precious time. Whether it’s conferences and events to identify new talent, dealing with ongoing compliance issues, sitting with departmental heads and reviewing specific cases, attending meetings, and interviews…lots of interviews.
On top of all of this, the HR professional also has to find time to stay abreast of the latest HR trends, ensure their own ongoing development – in short, there’s always more to do.
These tasks are extremely important and are often what keeps the organizational wheels turning smoothly. Unfortunately, they are also the reason that HR leaders are thought to be lacking when it comes to a strategic voice in the boardroom. Gartner research shows that 70% of CEOs expect chief human resources officers (CHROs) to be key players in enterprise strategy, but only 55% say CHROs are meeting this expectation.
Finding The Strategic Voice
This remains a key challenge facing HR leaders. Because of the operational nature of typical HR responsibilities, the HR voice is often overlooked when it comes to setting high-level strategies and priorities.
HR often has valuable data and input on key organizational metrics – with a better cross-company view than almost any other department – that makes them perfectly placed to be a big part of forming a robust long-term strategy.
Gartner highlights 3 key areas where leading HR professionals are finding their strategic voice and providing massive value to their Boards:
- Building the company of the future
- Leading organization-wide initiatives and providing insights to the C-suite
- Transforming the HR function
Building the company of the future
The availability of key skills concerns 63% of CEOs. Leading HR departments and professionals are driving this discussion at the Board level, and are putting strategic plans in place to combat this challenge.
Leading organization-wide initiatives and providing insights to the C-suite
With the information at their disposal, HR professionals can provide incredible value to company leadership. The data may be derived from the HR function, but the application of that data can be used anywhere within the business.
Transforming the HR function
60% of CEOs are rethinking the HR function. One of the key reasons for this is the realization of the potential strategic nature inherent in what HR can offer. Leading HR departments and professionals refuse to be left behind and are empowering themselves with the right tools and data to be a trusted source of strategic input.
Gaining the High Ground
What emerges from the points we’ve outlined is that HR as a discipline has a unique perspective that is essential to strategic thinking.
Aided by modern analytics platforms, HR also has an unparalleled birds-eye view on the workings of the company as a whole. This singular perspective can provide Boards with valuable insight and perspective, and become a powerful voice in setting strategic direction. All that HR teams require, are the right tools to take advantage of their unique position.
Sivan Shamri Dahan, General Partner at Qumra Capital, says it best: “What we’ve seen across our portfolio is that highly successful companies typically have a strong, strategic HR voice at the leadership table. HR is no longer about keeping things running smoothly in the background – it has emerged from the shadows to take its rightful place in the spotlight, and with the right tools it can provide invaluable insights to drive organizational success”.
The Strategic Value of HR to the Board
HR’s unique vantage point in terms of data trends, as well as their overall snapshot of organizational metrics perfectly, positions it to contribute to long-term strategy. Companies that understand this and equip their HR teams appropriately have seen stock returns 30% higher than the S&P 500.
This is where Mensch comes in. Mensch provides HR professionals with the technology and tools they need to efficiently and proactively operate within their organization and empowers them to contribute strategically to their company’s success.
To find out more about using Mensch in your role, get in touch.