The human resources office is often seen as a catch-all department.
An HR professional's responsibilities can range from processing employee paperwork and managing time sheets to conducting trainings and planning employee events. But what business leaders are expecting from their HR staff is changing.
The metrics used to evaluate HR policies and practices are changing across industries. The human resources department is now expected to actively contribute to a company’s bottom line, rather than simply being a passive or general resource for employees. Here are just a few of the more strategic roles HR is now playing:
Building the brand, inside and out.
Whether it’s meeting a recruiter at a career fair, or attending employee orientation on their first day of work, your HR staff are often the first faces people associate with your brand. HR staff should not only embody the culture executives expect from their employees, but also be a representation of how leadership wants the business to be viewed by others.
What are the qualities you want clients or potential customers to associate with your brand? Whatever the qualities your company prizes, your HR department should personify them. Want to be seen as innovative? Your HR department should be known for creating new trends in hiring, training, etc. Want to be seen as environmentally friendly? Your HR department should be leading your company’s recycling and sustainability efforts.
Communicating the company’s vision and goals.
Every CEO has a vision of where they see their company heading, and the key to making that vision a reality is getting each employee working towards that vision. But CEOs don’t have the time to communicate that vision to each and every employee. That’s where the human resources department should step in.
As the department your employees have the most contact with (besides their own), HR staff are perfectly positioned to not only recruit the right talent, but also to develop and motivate that talent to ensure the company’s vision comes to fruition. Each and every training, each performance evaluation, should correspond to how employees are contributing to achieving the company’s goals.
Improving the bottom line
Beyond understanding the company’s strategic and future goals, human resources staff should also understand the company’s financials and the industry itself. With this knowledge, the department will be able to link each of their functions (trainings, professional development, talent recruitment, etc.) to impacting specific business strategies. HR staff should be actively looking for ways they can provide solutions to company-wide problems and best practices to ensure they are using the most cost-effective methods to accomplish their administrative functions.
Measuring and reporting success.
It is not enough for HR staff to perform their job duties well – they must also be able to measure the impact of their efforts. Traditional HR metrics have ranged from human resources costs per employee, number of hours or trainings completed by employees, employee participation in activities, and compensation costs, among others. These indicators are all focused on the number of interactions or transactions HR staff have had with employees.
Business leaders are increasingly more concerned with “outcome-oriented” metrics, however. They want to see how the interactions other “HR transactions” have impacted the company as a whole. Does the number of hours of training affect the time to promotion? Does the cost of a company’s workforce have a positive correlation with its productivity?
There are endless possibilities for how human resources functions can add value to a company, but not every HR department is capable of performing up to these standards. If you think your company’s HR department needs help realizing its true potential, it may be time to consider outsourcing some of the more transactional HR functions.