HR departments have an identity crisis in the modern workplace. Once viewed as largely administrative structures, HR teams now play a vital role in C-level executive decisions too. As workplaces increasingly prioritize knowledge, skill, and innovation over tenure and the status quo, the people responsible for finding bright new talent and retaining top performers have naturally earned a position of greater prominence in the office. Simply put, HR is living up to its name more than ever, delivering the better, brighter, and more capable employees that are critical for success instead of handling paperwork.
At least, that’s how it should be. Not all organizations place the emphasis necessary on HR and prefer to think of it as an adjunct to other administrative functions – one that has a tenuous or occasionally even adversarial relationship with the company’s executive branch. If you don’t yet have a seat at the table when discussing business at the strategic level, it could be time to restructure. Here’s how to start the process and contribute more.
One of the most effective ways to dispel the outdated notion that HR departments exist to generate, distribute, and manage paperwork is to go paperless, or as close to paperless as possible. That means automating routine tasks such as overseeing benefits, tracking attendance, and overseeing vacation days, freeing you to focus on the elements of your role that engage your intellect and creativity. When you have more time to conduct meaningful interviews, identify rising stars within your company, and put personnel in a position to succeed, everyone benefits.
Human resources directors who spend more time with administration and less time with people are not able to be fully effective. You can’t pinpoint top performers solely by looking at performance reviews. It’s when HR directors look up from their screens and get to know the people in their organization that they can truly help each member of the organization excel. Become a part of office life on a daily basis, not just when it’s time for performance reviews, hiring and exit interviews, or solving inter-personal friction.
HR departments generate massive amounts of information, but information without analysis or context is like a library with no filing or shelving system. Until that data is accessible and useful, it doesn’t matter how much information you have on past performance reviews. Analyzing how talent affects performance, what you can do to align people’s skills with their roles within the company, and what motivates each person within your organization is invaluable for other decision-makers within the business hierarchy.
Reinventing your company’s HR department won’t revolutionize how the organization functions, but it has the power to transform how it functions. By discovering rising star hires, helping personnel achieve greater professional growth, and maximizing the potential of everyone in the organization, you make your company more agile and responsive.