Home > > How To Help Your HR Team Be More Strategic
Below is a list of the top five essential strategic functions every HR department, no matter how large or small, can (and wants) to be doing, but just doesn’t have time for.
HR has historically been a department rigidly ruled by paperwork. Need something from HR? Fill out these request forms, and they’ll get back to you. An employee has an issue with their supervisor? Fill out this report.
While there are certain protocols that are necessary given the nature of the information HR professionals have access to (Social Security numbers, salary and wage rates, employee medical histories, etc.), the role of the modern HR department has grown, and no longer exists in this kind of transactional vacuum. Instead, the human resources department now has ways to actively contribute to a company’s bottom line, rather than simply being a passive or general resource for employees.Most employers don’t realize that HR doesn’t have to be solely a source of unending costs, however.
Today, a company’s HR team should be made an integral part of a company’s business plan. Why? Because experienced HR professionals have the ability to completely transform a business’ entire workforce in ways that streamline processes and improve employee productivity, all of which contribute to minimized operational costs.
Employee performance has a direct impact on a business’ success. If employees are performing their jobs efficiently and effectively, that means the quality of a company’s goods or services are always top-notch. If employees aren’t performing as well, the overall performance of the business suffers as well.
So how can employers improve employee performance? One strategy that’s been proven to be effective is to link rewards (bonuses, raises, promotions, extra days off, etc.) to performance. The only way to do that is to develop and implement an evaluation strategy that is capable of accurately measuring an employee’s performance, rewarding the employees who excel at their jobs and providing a path for less-than-stellar employees to improve their performance. And the only people who can do that are experienced HR professionals.
It’s the 21st century! If any department is not taking advantage of all of the great technological advances the business world has seen over the past few years, they’re really missing out. This is particularly true when it comes to human capital management. There are so many HR technology platforms and tools available to employers now: paper time sheets are replaced by biometric scanners or web-based time and attendance platforms; benefits enrollment forms are now completed entirely online; the entire new hire onboarding process can be completed as soon as an employee accepts an offer, and all from the comfort of their own home!
Businesses that take advantage of these technologies have the opportunity to alleviate their HR teams of the burdens of many of their more tedious and time-consuming duties, allowing them instead to focus on some of the other strategies outlined here.
ACA, ADA, HIPAA, COBRA, FMLA, OSHA. For HR professionals, those aren’t just a random combination of letters – they represent complex labor and employment laws and regulatory agencies. Not knowing how each of these laws applies to your business is a mistake no company can afford. Having a dedicated compliance officer or other professional with the skills and expertise needed to ensure your business remains compliant with applicable regulations is vital to ensure your business’ success.
Talk of “company culture” has been one of the predominant topics of the HR world for years. Even business leaders who aren’t well-versed in human resources are aware, now more than ever, that it’s not just a company’s external reputation that matters – how an organization treats their employees now has serious weight in a consumer’s buying process. Companies who are known for having great corporate cultures (Google, Southwest Airlines, Apple), on the other hand, tend to be beloved by consumers, and enjoy higher customer loyalty rates than their competitors.
A company’s HR team plays a huge role in creating and maintaining a positive corporate culture, as well as ensuring that policies, practices and procedures align with your company’s vision and values. Not only will instilling a great company culture improve how your current employees feel about your company, but it will also attract talented professionals who identify with your company’s goals and values and want to become a part of that culture.
The truth is, most HR professionals want to be performing all of the functions above. The problem is, they just don’t have the time or resources to do so. That’s because, no matter if you have an internal HR team of 15 or just one, the majority of an in-house HR team’s time is spent on the daily, transactional tasks associated with keeping your workforce going: processing payroll, implementing and enforcing policies, administering benefits plans, etc.
Don’t feel bad: even very strong companies can have weak HR organizations. But with your HR personnel spending so much time on these tedious but necessary functions, they can’t focus on the more strategic, and even more important, HR functions that can truly drive your business forward.
Don’t let your company’s success take a backseat to the daily grind. Instead, consider bringing in someone who can take care of the more administrative HR functions and free up your staff to focus on what matters most – growing your business.