HR as Strategic Leaders
For decades HR professionals have been pushing for a “seat at the table.” They have sought a strategic role alongside the top executives. HR, however, has been viewed as just administrative – compliance managers. Regrettably, often times we get too settled into that role. While that is a significant part of HR strategy, there is much more HR can offer to benefit the organization strategically. HR pros must embrace the company’s vision and recognize the opportunities to make a strategic impact and bring solutions to the table.
While each company is unique and dictates individual solutions, there are four strategic initiatives that all businesses should be focused on. Below is a short summary of those four initiatives. Stay tuned, in the weeks to come we will be providing in-depth articles on each of these.
Sourcing Top Talent
Just like revenue generation requires creating awareness and a positive image, bringing in the best employees requires awareness and a positive image. Great employees want to work for great companies. It is important to build that image with a strong and consistent employer branding campaign.
Today, again, just as in sales and marketing, social media is one of the best outlets for creating an employer brand and making great employees aware of your organization.
Long gone are the days of placing ads in the local paper or even the online version of that paper. Today there is a multitude of online job boards.
Also, now as a standard practice, employers are utilizing Applicant Tracking Systems. These systems do everything including posting jobs directly to job boards, electronically gathering applicant information, communicating with applicants, making job offers, and more.
Retaining Top Talent
The last thing you want is for your investment in recruiting, onboarding, training, and development to walk out the door. Obviously, retaining top talent is critical to success.
Employers need to know that keeping good employees is not all about paying them a big salary. Respecting the need for work/life balance, a strong company culture, constructive feedback, rewards, recognition, and a well-structured benefits package, when provided with transparency and respect, will make a strong case for any employee considering other career options.
Minimizing Labor, Benefits, and Tax Cost
HR has a place in determining staffing levels and recognizing the correct labor requirements. HR strategy should also include looking at analytics like revenue per employee and wage costs and comparing to industry averages. HR should also work with other executives and managers to improve those numbers.
The cost of employee benefits is a challenge for every employer. Costs seem to be uncontrollable and the options seem to be dwindling. Knowing all the options, and more importantly, how to make them work together is key to creating the most cost-effective plan design.
Good employers care about their employees and their wellbeing. That includes their health. HR must, however, balance wellness initiatives with turnover. In an organization with significant turnover, more attention needs to be put into reducing turnover than wellness initiatives. You could work yourself to death just to get employees buying in and participating in wellness initiatives only to have them leave.
When it comes to tax savings options, there are almost too many – HSA’s, HRA’s, FSA’s, 401k’s. Again, the key for HR professionals is knowing how each works and how best to utilize them.
Employee productivity directly impacts the bottom line. Ensuring employees are working at the highest level is a great opportunity for HR to prove their worth. There are certain things that can be done that have a true impact. Studies have shown that improved employee engagement results in significant increases in productivity. Motivating employees, training development, outlined processes and procedures, communication of expectations, and so on all make a difference. HR should be driving these initiatives.
When HR understands the full picture of the organizational vision and values and is working strategically to make a difference, they will get that seat at the table.
If you are an HR strategy professional looking for the support you need or if you are a CFO of a smaller organization looking for HR guidance to help you drive strategic solutions, give ESS a call. Our professionals understand how to make administrative and compliance issues easy and assist or take the lead in driving strategic HR solutions.