If a business is only as strong as its people, then it makes sense for the team entrusted with looking after those people to have a representative at the ‘table’. But, securing a spot in an organisation’s C-suite can be fiercely competitive, and each seat at the table needs to contribute insight and expertise critical to the business’ success.

Experience and intuition aren’t enough, HR needs the backing of hard – and reliable – data to prove their worth, and they need time to make sense of this information to devise HR strategies. HR systems solves these problems and gives HR an opportunity to step into the C-suite.

hr system business table

The value of business-wide insights

Even with the very best of intentions, it can be nigh on impossible for HR professionals to have a relationship with everyone in their business – and the problem only increases with larger organisations. An HR system on the other hand can reach each and every employee, representing HR to the wider business, and gaining data and insights from all corners of an organisation.

HR’s wide reach, through their software, gives them a unique oversight of their whole organisation. HR should parlay these connections and insights into a seat at the table – who else is able to, and has an interest in, bringing these organisation-wide views to the attention of the C-suite?

Showing capability and building trust

Good HR systems help businesses organise their ‘people’ processes and look after the associated administration. While the initial set up might require some work: transferring Excel sheets of employee data and pdfs of policies and procedures online, the time invested in getting a new HR system up and running quickly pays dividends to HR (as shown above) and the business.

Organising HR information all in one central place with a Cloud-based HR system makes it much easier for HR to push policies and procedures out to the business, and for HR to pull accurate information back in via employee and line manager self-service. Using HR software, and being diligent about maintaining that system, creates an organised record of truth increasing a business’ trust in their HR function.

Once an HR system is up and running, there are a myriad of ways that it can keep people organised and HR compliant:

  • HR professionals can create checklists, so processes are clear, broken down step by step, and assigned to the right people – and they can make sure they’re being followed!
  • Form building functionality helps HR easily create forms so when HR needs information from the business, or the business wants to submit a request to HR, it’s succinct and relevant.
  • And, system modules, like onboarding and performance management, make it straightforward for HR to organise how new employees are welcomed to the business, and how performance and engagement are managed for existing talent.

Focusing on HR ROI, rather than HR system ROI

To earn a spot in the C-suite, HR also needs to show the business their commercial acumen. Being organised and bringing unique insights to the table help, but having business savvy is essential.

When trying to convince senior leaders to invest in a new HR system, HR often puts forward what they anticipate as the software’s ROI. But, after implementing a new system, the ROI conversation needs to refocus to look at what HR as a department is achieving – keeping HR ‘people’ firmly in the spotlight.

HR professionals should play the internal PR game, showing that they hold the keys to the system, that it’s their experience that allows them to configure the software to meet their organisation’s needs, and that by using this tool, they’ve freed up their time to work on more strategic endeavours – their ROI case will be that much stronger if they can also name those strategic projects and their benefits.

It’s all about strategy

HR’s battle, like many business units, is finding time away from everyday administrative work to focus on strategy. This is one of the prime reasons businesses adopt HR systems – because they can look after the admin and free up time for strategic work. Good HR systems will easily facilitate absence requests and approvals, document sharing and acknowledgement, and HR processes such as onboarding, performance management, succession planning, payroll and more.

If HR wants to be part of the C-suite, they need a department leader who’s able to step away from the admin to focus on HR strategy; a strategic thinker who can solve both immediate business concerns and propose plans for future improvements. A valuable CHRO maximises their HR system’s capabilities, adding value to the C-suite by interpreting the software’s data into insight, and then suggesting strategies that benefit the business.

Shandel McAuliffe author image

Shandel McAuliffe

Now based in sunny Australia, Shandel is prolific writer and editor - particularly in the world of HR. She's worked for some big names, including the CIPD and the Adecco Group. And more recently, she's been the Editor for new HR publication HR Leader.

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