HR Leadership: A Fresh Perspective on Shaping Organisational Success
In the corporate landscape where the mantra of ‘People First’ echoes among CEOs, a noticeable gap persists in recognising the pivotal role of HR professionals at the executive level. Despite the prevalent buzz around ‘human capital’ and ‘performance,’ only a handful of business leaders seamlessly integrate HR into their decision-making processes. Their rationale often revolves around the perceived high cost, resistance to change, and the lack of concrete data to substantiate HR’s utility.
Against the backdrop of rapidly evolving work dynamics, marked by diverse management styles, business automation, and intricate organisational behaviours, HR finds itself grappling to assert influence within the leadership team. One might ponder: who could be better positioned than HR to comprehend people, harness psychological and social mechanisms for cultivating a robust corporate culture, and enhance attraction and engagement in an ever-shifting landscape?
The ongoing digitisation of workflows, processes, and client services heralds a paradigm shift for HR. It necessitates the reinvention of organisational business models and demands a keen understanding of the irreversible demographic changes underway.
Here are seven key strategies HR can employ to proactively contribute to transforming their organisation and fostering an improved work environment:
- Anticipate the Future:
Being at the forefront of trends and foreseeing responses should be inherent to the skill set of HR leaders. Embracing social trends and technology is essential, with resources available to facilitate staying abreast of developments. HR must position itself as an innovator, equipped with monitoring and audit systems to seamlessly embrace innovation. Anticipating the demand for new competencies resulting from digitisation requires proactive training initiatives for both employees and managers.
Leveraging SaaS HR automation systems, such as EmployeeConnect, can harness employee databases to extract actionable business intelligence through analytics, reports, and dashboards. This transforms HR into the architect of the employer brand, promoting it on mobile and social platforms. The focus on managing a diverse workforce and implementing tailored onboarding and development programs is integral to HR’s daily routine.
While these concepts have permeated the HR field for years, the emphasis should shift from their novelty to the quality of implementation. Monitoring emerging trends enables HR leaders to align opportunities with business, client, and supplier needs, as well as organisational processes.
- Embrace Leadership Traits:
The evolution of the HR function hinges on embodying the traits of a true leader. HR’s profound social impact on business necessitates the development of a social dialogue. This requires HR agents to possess empathy, adept emotional management skills, and a close connection with employees. However, soft skills alone are insufficient when mitigating risks associated with projects like mergers or restructures.
HR must substantiate its convictions with solid numbers and a scientific approach. From sociology to economics and marketing, HR leaders should leverage scientific studies and business cases to reinforce their beliefs. Tracking metrics and ROI becomes crucial in demonstrating the value of HR projects.
To influence effectively, HR leaders need to act as entrepreneurs, displaying initiative, a relentless pursuit of positive gains, negotiation skills, risk-taking ability, and effective communication.
- Modernise Your Message:
Similar to the shift in marketing towards customer-centricity, HR must align with employee needs. HR Marketing, akin to employer branding, social media utilisation, collaborative management, and knowledge management, offers avenues for HR to update its messaging and showcase employees effectively.
- Cultivate a Robust Network:
Inclusion in the leadership team necessitates active participation in the decision-makers’ group. Establishing personal connections with influential personalities within the organisation is vital for being consulted in significant decisions. Understanding the business context, motivations, and political dynamics equips HR with the competencies needed to advocate for HR’s business value, career, and ideas.
- Transform into a Mentor:
Adopting a coaching mindset positions HR as an invaluable advisor. Listening, advising, empathising, and understanding socio-psychological challenges align with HR’s role in the leadership team. To ascend the corporate ladder, HR must evolve into a mentor, offering guidance on both short and long-term goals.
- Foster a Strong Workplace Culture:
Emphasising the importance of organisational culture, HR can play a pivotal role in shaping an influential position within any business. A robust corporate culture, characterised by engagement, loyalty, and improved customer experience, sets the stage for organisational success. Innovativeness embedded in the culture becomes the X factor attracting talent and differentiating the organisation.
- Embrace Critical Thinking:
Applying De Bono’s ‘black hat’ concept, HR leaders must exercise caution and employ critical judgment to interpret information objectively. While data is inherently true, interpretation biases can arise. Becoming a storyteller and extracting relevant intelligence from big data offer HR the opportunity to rejuvenate and influence leadership effectively.