So how important is HR when it comes to company leadership and how can HR professionals positively influence top-level management for the benefit of a business as a whole? Here at the HR department we have come up with 4 crucial ways HR can and should be contributing to leadership:
1. Strategic HR
Making sure HR is well versed in the big picture aims of the organisation is vital, especially as it’s the department responsible for hiring new workers. Traditionally HR has been criticised for being too focused on the day-to-day operations of a business and therefore accused of lacking strategic vision. Ironically, it may be precisely due to a lack of HR representation at senior management level that HR as a department isn’t fully aware of, or up to speed with, a company’s overall goals.
So, in order to gain full insight into a company’s ethos and aims, and to help drive a business forward in the right direction, HR professionals need to have a seat at the top table. This will ultimately develop the skills and knowledge of HR staff while making sure all employees are in line with company objectives.
2. Act as Role models
There is no doubt that HR, as a department acts as a role model for the rest of an organisation. Often responsible for disciplinary action, payroll and making sure workers abide by codes of conduct, HR professionals play a vital role in workplace management.
In this sense, it is also HR’s role to keep senior management in check, even if that means HR professionals being unpopular with leadership. In order to effectively carry out this task, and act as somewhat of an intermediary between senior management and the rest of a business, HR must have an influence in the C-suite. Not only is this important internally, it also helps to portray a company as being one of openness and fairness and employees may appreciate HR taking up a mediating role throughout a company.
3. Company Culture Creators
More often than not we are seeing how HR can help to create and uphold company culture. A strong company culture is vital when it comes not only to attracting new talent, but also holding on to your best workers. HR, through mentoring, training and development, for example, can help to harness a company culture that encourages and empowers workers - ultimately making them happier employees.
Company culture greatly influences how your business runs on a daily basis. From flexible working hours to maternity leave to promotions – all of these details, managed by HR, are very important for harnessing a great company culture. Senior management in an organisation should recognise this and give HR the appropriate role in leadership to facilitate the enhancing of company culture throughout a business.
4. Key to Employer Branding
Continuing on from company culture, HR plays a central role in diffusing and promoting an organisation’s brand externally. In fact, when asked what department was most responsible for employer branding in their organisation, 42% of those in the HR Trends Survey 2017 cited the HR department – 12% greater than even the marketing department.
Effective employer branding helps to ensure that companies find suitable and talented workers which saves time, money, effort and improves employee retention. Undoubtedly, employer branding, along with talent acquisition and retention, is even more effective if it is done collaboratively between HR and senior management. Teamwork in this area between HR and management increases the ability to spot top talent early and assess the abilities of prospective employees, while ensuring businesses find an employee who is the right fit for the organisation.
Giving the HR department more of an influential role at senior management level clearly has its benefits. The reality is that many of the current weaknesses of HR departments stem from the disconnect between HR and leadership within an organisation. Bridging the gap between HR and senior management is a mutually beneficial undertaking that will result in a more productive, strategic and forward thinking business.
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