When it comes to high-level decision-making, C-suite executives tend to prioritize clear goals and actionable solutions. This sort of results-driven mentality is crucial to a company's profitability and long-term growth, but you know what else it can introduce? Costly blind spots. As wise HR professionals, we understand the value a healthy and engaged workforce can add to an organization. Communicating this to key decision makers — that's a whole different story.

Getting HR professionals a seat at the business strategy table has always been a bit of a struggle, particularly in organizations that fail to recognize the strategic value of human capital management. Of course, this oversight is often compounded by inefficient and time-consuming administrative processes. So how can HR leaders show their value as strategic partners and align their efforts with the specific objectives executive decision-makers are most concerned about?

Don't worry — we've got some answers for you (we told you we were wise). Rather than repeating how HR professionals help companies thrive, which you already know, let's dive into some practical tips for winning over upper management and securing a seat at the table. After all, it’s not just about knowing your own value; it’s about communicating that value to others, right?

Strategic HR conversation between man and woman on couch

Step 1: Canvass your HR ecosystem

Since every business has its own established order, it's important to get a sense for how your HR department fits into the bigger picture. Sure, it may seem obvious to you, but high-level executives might not be as intimately familiar with your day-to-day activities or strategic objectives. This sort of self-reflection can help you articulate how your work benefits the organization at every level, not just on the back end. The truth is, HR isn't a siloed business segment. Whether you're hunting for high-quality candidates, evaluating employee performance, or rolling out new engagement strategies, the results you deliver have a direct impact on your company's bottom line. Taking stock of your HCM system is also crucial, as it allows you to home in on the people, processes, and technologies that add the most value to your department.

Step 2: Define your objectives

After you've mapped out your HR ecosystem, you have to create a detailed list of operational goals. These can include reducing employee turnover, streamlining candidate recruitment, automating manual paperwork, and so on. It's always a good idea to develop HR objectives that are straightforward and transparent, as broad generalizations often do more harm than good.

Take a second to consider the high costs associated with poor employee retention. Research from the Work Institute estimates that employers will pay close to $680 billion in turnover costs by 2020. Seems like a lot of money, doesn't it? With such staggering financial losses on the horizon, implementing an employee retention strategy may seem like a no-brainer, especially when you consider how a candidate-driven labor market can complicate the recruitment process. But getting executives to sign off on a new HR initiative can be difficult without first demonstrating how the project will directly contribute to a desired business outcome.

Step 3: Collect accurate and actionable HCM data

In the world of HR, knowledge is an invaluable resource. The more workforce data you can analyze, the better equipped you'll be to meet your organizational objectives. Of course, putting the right HCM system in place is a big piece of the puzzle, as it can be difficult to track, monitor, and manage employee data without a unified software solution. Most HR leaders will want to keep a close eye on similar key performance indicators — such as applicant conversion rates, time-to-hire trends, first-year retention and new hire performance — but the metrics you track will largely depend on your specific goals. Remember, HCM data will be essential to communicating the role HR should play in high-level decision-making.

Step 4: Leverage data-driven insights

Last but not least — transforming HR professionals into strategic partners is all about leveraging data to create actionable business plans that will simplify the recruitment process and improve employee retention, performance, and engagement. This may come as a shock to you, but HCM strategies based on guesswork and intuition can produce subpar results (okay, maybe not so shocking), which is why many companies are beginning to integrate predictive analytics into their workflows. While these advanced tools can't make decisions for you, they can help you gauge the potential impact of new HR initiatives, policies, and processes and take action on workforce trends before those trends affect you. This insight will be instrumental for persuading executives that HCM-based recommendations are critically important to the success and longevity of the business.

So what have we learned? If you've been struggling to cultivate a more productive relationship with upper management, the right HCM partner could make all the difference. By implementing a unified HCM platform, you can take full advantage of employee data and make a compelling case for HR's role at the decision-making table. Told you we had the answers! Want to become as wise as us and learn more actionable HR strategies? Just check out our informative eBook.

See if your HR strategy measures up

Published: Thursday, August 29, 2019