Human resources has had a seat at the proverbial table with other key business stakeholders for decades now. But as I speak with HR execs and practitioners, there seems to still be a disconnect when it comes to HR being involved with the entire business. It is my belief that HR should have input into almost all areas of an organization because HR has a role to play in recruitment, selection, onboarding, payroll, benefits, and of course let’s not forget change management, employee experiences, and building/facilitating a positive culture for the organization.
Sometimes, I think, organizations fail to see HR as a strategic business partner within the organization. So let’s talk about three ways you can maximize HR’s seat at the table.
1. Become more automated
HR needs to review and reflect on the processes they have in place and ask the following questions: What processes do we have in place that are manual that we can automate? Do we have multiple points of data entry? Make a list of all these processes. Then ask which of these are low hanging fruit and can be accomplished quickly, as well as which processes on the list would have the most impact on the business and/or the employees.
Think about what it would take to move these processes from manual to automated. Is there a business case to purchase a solution? Could you save money with a technology solution as opposed to completing the process manually? From an employee’s perspective, do you provide self-service options that are easy to use?
Start with some quick wins first.
During my years as an HR practitioner, an organization that I worked for was keeping track of almost 800 employees' accruals and time off on an excel spreadsheet. And to make it worse, it was one spreadsheet per employee. It took four payroll employees just about two weeks per month to records all the employee’s accruals and leave.
This manual process was a very inefficient use of people’s time, and on top of this because payroll was keeping track of leave many employees would just come up to the payroll office to ask how much vacation and sick time they had available, causing even more of a squeeze on the payroll team. Something like this is a clear case of the low hanging fruit we were just talking about. In this case, we ended up automating these processes and then reallocated the time payroll employees spent on recording employees’ accruals to being more proactive in their roles.
2. Use the data you have
Do you capture data in a unified HCM platform or somewhere else in your company? Are you using that data in any strategic or significant fashion? Think of the data you have that supports the strategic initiatives of the organization. What data would matter to the head of your area or even the C-suite executives? Good metrics could include information like turnover or attrition rates, the effectiveness of your hiring process, cost per turnover, etc. Can you bring that data together in a dashboard or scorecard and present it to those in executive positions? Better yet, can you identify some ongoing trends that you can start predicting for with the data you have access to, like employee reliability, fatigue/burnout, performance, and other areas of concern?
Deciding on some baseline Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) is good place to start.
Many organizations start with turnover or attrition rates because you can translate these metrics into money spent on recruiting, hiring, and ramping up new employees to be productive. A metric like this will allow you to become proactive, put a solution in place, and see if you can reduce your organization's turnover rate.
3. Incorporate AI into your decision making
Once you have all your HR data in a single system, you're ready to take the next step toward efficiency and incorporate artificial intelligence (AI) into your decision making. Doing this helps take the administrative burden off you, your HR team, and your managers by speeding up daily duties while also getting you to think proactively and look ahead. See, it’s more than just the AI automating scheduling processes for managers and organizations. AI can inform HR and managers of key data points predicting important trends like flight risk in the organization, which lets decision makers focus on action instead of the detective work needed to get to those insights.
With AI supporting you, you can act with confidence to proactively address situations, reduce costs and risk, and boost the employee experience.
In addition, AI can aid HR by anticipating the needs of HR teams before they themselves may even know they have them. An embedded AI can look at the data in your HCM system to understand when key events like open enrollment, performance reviews, or seasonal recruiting cycles happen in the organization and point HR to the smoothest process for executing on these items. Instead of having to remember a process from a year ago or guess about next steps,HR and managers get all the information they need to seamlessly move through the system and accomplish goals, further reducing administrative overhead and helping automate continuous improvement processes by always looking at the latest and best ways to do things. This is a huge benefit to HR in terms of getting the time needed for strategy back.
Conclusion: What will you do with your seat at the table?
Human resources right now has all the tools needed to be a strategic partner for any organization. We just need to leverage the right HR technology to reduce time spent on manual process, create margin, and make even bigger impacts on the employees and the organization.
I'm sure you're always hearing about the future from analysts and vendors, and that’s important, but it’s even more critical to know where you’re at currently and recognize the actions you can take today to make a difference. If you’re looking for a practical way to understand your HR department’s current state and figure out the best technology options to help you both knock out those quick wins and also focus on future growth, check out our HCM Buyer’s Toolkit.