As an HR Director, you know that what you do has an impact and adds value to the business. Sometimes, however, it can be difficult to know if the rest of the business is totally aware of this, as this impact on the business is not always so obvious to others. This can be difficult to overcome, leaving some in HR feeling isolated from the rest of the business, unable to influence future direction from a workforce perspective and undervalued by other senior managers. This is the conversation I have regularly with HR Managers and Directors. It is encouraging to see the name of HR being replaced by Chief People Officer, People and Learning, People and Culture etc. This demonstrating that HR is changing and being valued.
This lack of recognition can come from a number of reasons; perhaps it is that you are working at too low a level or have the wrong structure in place for your team, or perhaps the problem isn't coming from you or your department at all. If you feel like you and your department are undervalued within the company you work for, here are a few tips for demonstrating the impact HR has on a business more clearly.
Provide HR Metrics
Metrics can be used to measure the performance of human resources, in relation to things such as recruitment, turnover, employee engagement and performance of employees or departments. Creating reports on HR metrics such as these help to provide evidence to senior management of what HR has been doing and how well it is performing, illustrating the value it is adding to a division or the business as a whole. Focus on metrics that match up with corporate strategy and business objectives to really show your worth. Linking talk and using a language that resonates with executives, consider a holistic lens - internal process perspective, customer perspective and financial perspective. Consider implementing an HR Scorecard. A Balanced Scorecard for the HR organisation which describes and measures its role in Human Capital development. Undertake and audit of core HR processes.
- Assess the degree of strategic fit, cost effectiveness and perceived value of HR policies with regard to the business strategy
- Work with the HR team to define an HR vision and strategy in line with external best practice and the organisation's cultural and business direction
- Conduct an in-depth audit of core HR policies and process. The key elements of the approach to:
- Measure of the fit of human capital policies in supporting an organisations' culture and business objectives
- Calculate the cost (direct and indirect) of HR policies
- Measure and improve the value of these policies in the eyes of the employees.
Promote What You Do
- Talk to employees in your business to get an idea of the reputation of HR within it. Do they know what the HR department actually does?
- Become the leader of your company's HR change management efforts
- Gain a seat at the strategy table, by advising management on the HR deliverables required by its current strategy.
All of this doesn't mean shout from the rooftops all the amazing things your department does for the company, but think of ways that you could promote the impact you have on the business to make senior management and the rest of the company more aware of it. Think of your HR department as a product and come up with some ways you can market it to the rest of the company. Focus on benefits that your CEO will be able to relate to, and emphasise how they affect the bottom line.
I don't believe that HR needs to justify what they do, what they do needs to be seen through the right behaviours and embedded througout the organisation. Take your colleagues and their teams on the journey.
The real value that HR brings to the table is the same as any other department, and this is what HR needs to demonstrate, how did we contribute to the financial viablity of the business and how do we impact the customer experience?
We all know how great HR is, but now it's time to let the rest of your business know. Look both inside and out of your department to seek the opportunities.
By Deborah Wilson