HR has always been an integral part of any organization, but it’s worth has only been appreciated now during the pandemic. The people working in HR have had to understand ever changing COVID-19 policies while protecting employee’s health and privacy. Human resource professionals are now on speed dial to help guide their organization through the pandemic to keep employees safe and prevent lawsuits.
Executives are now putting HR in the forefront of discussion asking questions like: are the facilities safe? Are employees engaged? Do the rules make sense, and are they being followed? Many CEOs and other executives fail to see the importance of HR until a crisis arises; we have come up with eight key steps that Human Resources and Talent Management Professionals can take to continue to earn a seat at the table and ensure that their HR department is viewed as an asset, not an anchor, to the business.
1. Prove that HR is vital to developing business acumen
Business survival through this pandemic comes down to 2 things- make money and save money. You need to figure out how you will have an essential part in that. There’s a difference between surviving and thriving, so help your company thrive during these trying times!
Help the Executive and Sales team with growth strategies by taking initiative to ask various department leaders how you can help them. Show that HR can be helpful in many ways, not just damage control.
2. The company image and employer brand is centered around the actions of HR
Your future employees are watching and now is the time to capture their attention. Your competition is watching how you will emerge as well. If the path of emerging is rocky consider staff augmentation solutions with temporary staff to alleviate stress.
Help tell the brand story to your prospect employees in multiple platforms. Define what is great about your organization and why they would want to one day work there.
3. The talent pipeline is built by HR
Position yourself as a talent manager overseeing hiring, performance and talent growth. There is a wealth of great talent in the market that you might need in the future. Make those connections now and create a system to engage with them when you are ready to hire again.
When you find great talent, see them as humans and not as assets. It can come across disingenuous if you are only interested in them because of their skills. Try talking with them to assess if they will fit into your organization’s culture. By doing this, you are showing interest in candidates as a person, leading to them being more partial to your company when they are looking for a new position.
4. Speak with numbers to highlight the importance of HR
Use quantifiable metrics to demonstrate efficacy, delivering a clear and definable ROI for HR transforming from a cost center to profit driver. It’s never easy to get the ear of the CEO or other C-Suite executives, and a lack of executive presence can undermine even the most capable HR professional.
Measure and articulate the impact and ROI on your hiring, programs, reductions in force, unemployment claim control and risk mitigation. You should at all times know your cost per hire, turnover rate, compensation rates of your market and unemployment rates.
Make sure you are always studying the market changes to advise your Leadership team. Steer away from happiness or employee satisfaction measures that may not get them excited. Additionally, you need to know the numbers they are concerned about such as sales numbers, supply costs and the current financial market.
5. Be an advisor
Use the “truth and trust” approach to serve as a respected advisor to senior executives and business-unit leaders. As they navigate survival and growth strategies you must be the foremost expert on the market changes, the talent landscape and the new laws for compliance.
Any decision that is made should always go back to you to ensure that it complies with the law and company policy, as well as making sure the decision follows any directional changes your company wants to go in.
6. Be a cheerleader
Avoid being the nay-sayer and take the phrase “we can’t do that” out of your vocabulary. Instead be informed, prepared and optimistic. Have confidence in your knowledge and abilities to find the time and resources needed for growth.
Whenever you find yourself thinking, “we can’t do that”, come up with an alternative that shows your creative skills and problem solving abilities. Lead executives in the right direction with your expertise.
7. Ensure everyone in your department is an expert
Employees and leaders alike are demanding answers from HR in our roles as experts. When the CEO gets involved in the department’s business it is because they do not feel confident they are handling it well on their own. HR needs to be managed by HR experts. In order to stay essential to the business, you have to be ahead of the game and they need to feel confident you are doing everything you can in your area to make the business thrive.
8. Pull Up a Folding Chair
Here is a quote from Shirely Chisholm who was the first Black woman elected to Congress:
“If they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair.”
If they won’t let you in, butt your way in. Executives will cast you aside if you do not have the initiative to have a seat at the table. Demand your presence at meetings because your input is valuable to the success of the organization. Implementing all these steps and tips into your department will prove the worth of HR in all facets of your company, not just crises.
HR is starting to get the recognition they deserve. By using these steps, you are guaranteeing that your seat at the table will remain there and not be whisked away after the pandemic has ended. Which steps are you going to integrate into your plans?
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