For years, HR has sought that elusive “seat at the table.” During the pandemic we didn’t just get a seat — we continue to lead our organizations through uncertainty. Now organizations across the globe are relying on us to make effective decisions regarding the long-term future of work.
Business leaders need our expertise to move forward. Don’t lose sight of that momentum. No matter what your title, you can exert strategic influence at your company. Here are some actions you can take this week to become a strategic HR leader at your organization.
• Calculate an HR program’s value. Strategic HR leaders add tangible value to their organizations. That’s not a matter of opinion; it’s something you can demonstrate. Identify an HR program at your company, such as a training or onboarding initiative. How much does the program cost? What are the outcomes of the program? To get metrics on a safety training program, for example, compare the number of safety incidents before the training versus after it. What are the financial savings from incident reduction? If your calculations show there isn’t a benefit, the program may need a rethink.
• Exercise influence where you can (and work to expand yours). Titles don’t always equal influence. There is no substitute for relationships: knowing people you can rely on, who in turn know they can count on you. To gain influence in your company, find some time this week to connect with colleagues in another department. Ask them about their human capital challenges, and offer your expertise to help solve them. When your peers start coming to you for advice and expertise, you’ve gained strategic influence.
• Drive innovative behavior changes. Strategic HR leaders guide human behaviors to produce more valuable outcomes. That might mean ditching legacy programs to innovate something entirely new. Look at your company’s performance management process, for example. Can you optimize it anymore in its current form, or do you need to replace it with continuous feedback or another new model? This is another reason why calculating the value of HR programs is so useful: You have the data to show what’s working and what isn’t.