Wouldn’t it be great if the HR professionals were seen as the superstars that they really are?
Unfortunately, that isn’t usually the case. With the profession receiving a serious amount of (often unfair) ridicule for lacking business sense and taking a reactive rather than proactive approach to its role. There’s no doubt HR has a serious image problem. Two out of five organizations say their HR operations have a weak impact on their success.
New research from Deloitte suggests, however, that it isn’t time to do away with HR. Its findings show that an effective HR function can have a real impact on the bottom line and can make as much as a 40 percent difference to performance.
So, what makes the difference between an HR team that’s doing the bare minimum and being an HR superstar- one that’s really adding value, helping the business adapt to change, operate at its peak and beat off the competition?
It’s about the business
Business imperatives and insights about the workforce have to guide how HR operates, not the other way around. This means that the HR team needs to ‘muscle in’ early on the conversations that are taking place at senior level about where the business is headed. Too often, HR is not included in the discussion and only comes to the table when a strategy has been agreed upon. Getting involved early on in negotiations means HR can provide valuable insights about talent and how best to manage it – or can point out vital skills gaps that might derail plans if not addressed. HR people also need to get more business savvy and make sure they have financial and commercial awareness as well as people-related expertise.
Nimble is key
When HR demonstrates agility and flexibility, it unlocks high business performance throughout the organization and sets the standard for performance in other functions. Policies and processes are important – but sometimes HR-related stuff gets so caught up in administrative tasks that it prevents the business from moving forward. HR people need to become more fleet of foot so they can respond rapidly to changing situations. It’s about seeing what’s coming, being ahead of the game and working with the business to make sure HR processes are not stifling innovation or making it more difficult for managers to shape and lead their teams in the way they need to.
Beyond the organization
The importance of industry, social networks, customers, the external market and other stakeholders must be reflected in how HR operates. HR is often criticised for operating in its own little silo and lacking awareness of what’s happening in the world outside. The profession needs to have its antennae constantly attuned to trends in its own market and the wider business world and to be benchmarking itself against best practice in other organisations. Getting connected is also critical to success – not just with peers from within the HR world but also with people from other professions, like finance and marketing for example, who can share ideas and help develop new insights.
The role of technology
Deloitte also stresses the importance of technology that provides managers and employees with easy to use data and information. HR software for people, absence and performance management, like Cezanne HR, not only takes the pain out of HR administration, freeing up the department’s time to be more strategic, but provides intuitive tools that help everyone to work more productively.
To help HR raise its game in these areas, Deloitte has developed a ‘high impact HR operating model,’ which has been designed to help the profession operate more efficiently, add value, and meet the growing expectations of the business. The model emphasizes shifting from transforming HR into optimizing HR, bringing the profession closer to the business, turning the team into consultants and advisors, and moving HR skills up to a new level of capability.
What are your thoughts high impact model work for you? Let us know in the comment box below or on our LinkedIn page. We’d be interested to hear your views!