“HR needs to be more strategic!” – It’s an ongoing call to action that rings out across industries and geographies. The requirements of those in HR positions have changed dramatically over the past several years from a focus on administrative tasks to new requirements that they—especially those in leadership roles—can approach their jobs from a more strategic perspective.
Board members and senior leaders are asking for bottom-line evidence that HR initiatives are making a difference. It’s evidence that can be difficult to find and sometimes challenging to quantify. To succeed in this new world, HR teams need new skills and competencies. Here are the “7 Most Critical Improvements HR Teams Need,” based on 2015 research from The Hackett Group, The CHRO Agenda: Key Issues for HR in 2015:
1. Improve Talent Management Capabilities
With baby boomers beginning to exit the workforce, critical gaps exist in many key areas, especially related to STEM careers. Meanwhile, global competition is heating up and HR organizations know they must be able to attract, retain and engage talent across the organization. That means understanding where current gaps and future needs exist, identifying recruitment options and taking steps to engage those who could fill these gaps through both internal development and external recruitment.
2. Increase Quality of HR Data Analysis and Reporting
An HR leader’s success is predicated on his or her ability to show the numbers that prove their initiatives are making a difference. As a result, systems must be in place to capture data and, most importantly, report on that data in meaningful ways. HR has opportunities to partner with IT colleagues here.
3. Define Forward-Looking Workforce Strategy
HR leaders must approach their work from a strategic standpoint. That means not only understanding what the organization’s strategic objectives are, but demonstrating how HR activities help to support and further those objectives in meaningful—and measurable—ways.
If your senior HR leaders aren’t already sitting at that C-suite table, they need to find a chair. The more aligned HR leaders are with organizational planning, the more likely they will be to ensure that their actions are aligned.
4. Increase HR’s Analytical and Forecasting Capabilities
HR professionals don’t tend to come from accounting or finance backgrounds. Instead, their skills have traditionally been “softer” in nature and more communication or people-oriented. Those skills are still necessary, but today’s HR professionals must develop the analytical and forecasting capabilities that can help them help senior leaders meet objectives in quantifiable ways. Building relationships with colleagues in both IT and Finance/Accounting can be key here.
5. Leverage Technologies to Improve Cost-Effectiveness and Performance
Doing more with less is the name of the game today, and technology exists to make that happen. HR teams need to understand not only what technologies are available, but how to select, implement and use technology in strategic ways to drive down costs and boost performance.
6. Develop Future HR Competencies/Skills
Business requirements are continually changing so HR professionals need to be constantly alert to shifts in needs and demands. Staying attuned to industry changes through resources provided by organizations like XpertHR can ensure that you stay ahead of the trends.
7. Align HR Staff Skills With Current Business Needs
Do your staff have the necessary skills to meet current and future needs? If they don’t, it’s incumbent on you to help identify gaps, remove barriers and ensure that they—and you—are receiving the training and resources needed to partner with their organizations in achieving workforce goals.
Yes, it’s a challenging world out there but today’s HR professionals are ready to face the challenges by ensuring they’re up-to-date on trends and ready to engage in ongoing professional development, networking and collaborations to effectively meet their employer’s needs as well as their own.