C-suite leaders may want HR to become a strategic partner, but it can be difficult to get there. However, as Jennifer McClure, president of Unbridled Talent, LLC, discussed at this year's SHRM conference, this begins with the mindset that HR is solving one of the company's top challenges: attracting and retaining top talent. McClure offered four strategies you can use to position HR as a strategic partner and help get a seat at the table with your company's C-suite team.
Solve Real Business Problems for C-Suite Leaders
Ultimately, your company's C-level team is responsible for setting the strategy and managing execution of that strategy across the company. Whether attracting the top sales reps or finding innovative thinkers for manufacturing roles, HR can build a strategy that helps solve real problems. In most cases, the problems under consideration come down to two key factors – culture and people. Find the top talent, help attract them to the organization, and then build the culture needed to keep them and maximize their productivity. When an HR leader is seen as an essential partner for solving major business challenges, it's possible to gain a seat at the executive table.
Think Like an Entrepreneur
As McClure points out, when you search online for terms like HR and policy you get many results; HR and entrepreneurship generate far fewer. It’s because HR is all about risk mitigation. But when you're willing to be entrepreneurial in your thinking, this can open up the real possibility of having an impact on your organization. Entrepreneurs locate problems, understand markets, and develop solutions. Within HR, if you use data and your knowledge of people to get to know what the company needs, it's possible to deliver targeted and innovative offerings that help the business achieve its larger objectives.
Rely on Data
In HR, you're called to balance two important things: data and people. Ultimately, data can help you understand how your company is performing and what decisions you can make that can improve financial and other results. Yet within human resources, it can be risky to make decisions based on data alone. Every decision can have a potential human impact on your workforce that you need to consider and account for. Today's best HR departments are using data to more fully understand the impact of their decisions and balancing that with people-focused considerations to generate the best possible results.
Adapt HR to Today's Biggest Trends
Leaders are facing new challenges or challenges that are presenting themselves in new ways. For example, an increase in remote workers, the emergence of Generation Z, and difficulty navigating tough talent markets are all coming to the forefront as considerations. Understanding the latest HR trends, how they're affecting your industry and business, and developing customized strategies to better manage these matters can help you become a trusted partner.
Getting the C-suite's attention can be difficult, but it starts with an understanding that you're working to solve some of the company's most critical problems. Whether you're helping the leaders navigate new market dynamics like the remote workforce or attract top talent in a tight space, what you're doing is important. Change your mindset and focus on how these results help the company achieve its objectives so that your voice can be heard.