Over the past few years, HR has become increasingly important within organizations — especially as company culture, employee engagement, and the employee experience have gained more attention.
If something goes wrong in HR, the C-suite will care very much about it. Yet, Human Resources rarely has a seat at the table to discuss issues, priorities, and initiatives. Part of the reason is because HR employees often don’t know how to gain the attention of executives or how to communicate effectively at that level.
How can HR have a strategic say in the business? Here are some tips, inspired by an HR Spark interview, to earn a seat at the table.
Speak the Business Language of the C-Suite
CEOs care about data, numbers, and analysis while HR prioritizes soft skills. To get your leadership team to listen, you’ll need to tie dollar amounts to HR’s issues. Be able to show how compliance, employee retention, and employee engagement add value to the company’s bottom line.
Be ready to back up a compelling vision with hard numbers. People are moved by emotion, but they justify their decisions with logic. If you don’t have the data to enable the leadership team to justify the decisions you’re asking them to make, you won’t get what you want.
Tie HR Initiatives to the Business Initiatives
Place yourself in your audience’s shoes and always be thinking about the “So what?” question: why should your executives care about what you have to say? How do your concerns impact them? How can you help them achieve their goals or solve their problems?
Every C-suite has specific goals and objectives. HR should be able to tie its own objectives into the overall company objectives. If your goals don’t align with the leadership’s goals, you’ll be working at cross purposes and won’t get executive buy-in.
This can be tricky, because HR initiatives can take more than a year to show impact. If you’re overhauling a training program, it could be months or years before you see the full value of the change. Recognize the leap of faith that your leadership team will have to take, but be prepared to project expected results using hard numbers that resonate with C-level priorities.
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Add Business Value Beyond Compliance
When the C-suite thinks about HR, they probably think of compliance. And it might end there. But Human Resources is much more than the compliance gatekeeper of your company, and it’s important to demonstrate that to your executives. Move the conversation past compliance and on to productivity improvements and people improvements.
You need to talk about the dollar impacts of compliance on your organization, but be sure to show how you can provide value that extends to the direction and growth of your business.
For example, in 2021, there are 1.4 available workers for every job opening in the U.S. — just half the average of the past 20 years, and it’s continuing to fall. Your company needs HR to lead the organization so that it conforms to the evolving expectations of employees. As constant recruiting and hiring becomes the norm, HR will play a strategic role in the areas of business development and operations.
Present Yourself as a Peer Business Leader
HR overcame the sudden shift to working from home, and everyone still got paid. You successfully transitioned your entire workforce from the office to remote — and maybe even back to the office again. All that, while protecting your company culture, maintaining productivity, and ensuring that employees were trained and equipped. New employees were hired during that time, helping the business grow and reach its goals.
You deserve a seat at the table with your company’s executives. Be confident when you’re sitting there, because you are a business leader. Your insights and input matter to the C-suite.
IDI Prepares You for Those C-level Conversations
HR directors are being pulled in more directions than ever before. As you add executive management to your plate, you’ll need easy access to hard data and analytics. Take advantage of best-of-breed solutions. Get the right systems in place so that you have the data you need at your fingertips.
IDI can provide you with an automated system that makes data analysis quick and hands-free. Integrate disparate systems into one spot and generate insightful reports that are tailored to your HR needs.
IDI is your HR partner for innovative solutions. We’ll help you become an agent of change at the executive level.