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  • Writer's pictureBoss Consulting HR

Why Strategic HR Will Make You a Better HR Leader

The future is here, and it’s in strategic HR.

The old fashion understanding of HR was payroll, punishment, and whatever couldn’t fit anywhere else. Human Resources has long been seen as an administrative and tactical function. But smacking this admin label on a neatly packaged HR box no longer fits within the workplace culture of today.

There is a new way of understanding HR and its place at the table. We’re talking strategic HR.

Viewing your role as an HR professional as an integral part of the strategic arm of your company is essential. Not only to your continued success in the field but also to serving your organization and employees best.

Strategic HR started to gain traction over the last decade. But was fast-tracked by the pandemic which brought about a necessity for change. It’s time to recognize your place in HR as a part of the C Suite of your company (no matter how big or how small), and act accordingly.

It’s time to step up and step out from behind the admin tasks, and into a more centralized people-first approach.

The future of HR is here. We’re not here to fight it, we’re here to help you do the best work you can.

What is Strategic HR?

Gone are the days of checking boxes and processing forms. A forward-thinking approach is called for now. One that will allow you to continue to add value to your organization and to your people.

Strategic HR. The term gets thrown around quite a bit, but what does it actually mean and how can you apply it?

The official definition from SHRM positions strategic HR as a future-oriented process of developing and implementing HR programs that address and solve business problems and directly contribute to major long-term business objectives.

In other words, strategic HR takes a future-forward, people-first, approach and results in numerous benefits to company health. Including an impact on the overall bottom line.

While administrative HR functions will always be necessary, we encourage you to begin to lead as a strategic HR partner. To take action from this place, and position yourself as an engaged and forward-thinking leader.

“A strategic approach to HR can help your company avoid common HR mistakes that involve tactical HR processes. Remember: To effectively execute larger business goals, the whole culture must be aligned with them. And that requires HR insights and support.” - Insperity

How to Lead as a Strategic HR Partner?

Now that you know the what, let’s dig into the how. How can you begin to take on this more strategic role and claim your seat at the table? How can you use this approach to add value and affect positive change to company processes, culture, and yes… even to revenue?

People First Approach (Recruiting & Retention)

In today’s workplace culture, the job market has changed. What employees prioritize, and want from their work has too. Employee retention is lower than ever and these new conditions call for new ways of thinking and new strategies to support them.

According to SHRM what’s needed now are “HR business strategies that include recruiting and retaining the right people, as well as providing ethical and cultural leadership.”

As a valuable HR leader in today’s society, it is vital to become an expert in people, not just transactions.

Promoting employee care is an essential strategic process you can take now to expand your HR impact.

Administrative HR sees employees and employee management as a liability. While strategic HR sees people as an asset to manage and maintain. In other words, your people are just as much of an asset to the business and bottom line as are finances, clients, and customers. As an HR professional, this is the biggest opportunity to create value within your organization.

By setting up systems and processes that support and promote employee well-being, you increase retention and satisfaction while also increasing productivity.

The opportunity for impact is huge. Prioritize your people to ensure healthy company function.

Work with Leaders to Build Strategic Systems

More than ever before, HR is being given a seat at the table. As you take your seat, it is vital to acknowledge your position and to see yourself as a partner within your organization.

Take action by creating strategic practices that align with company objectives.

Work with other managers and leaders to ensure they understand that HR is an integral part of their business strategy. Good HR, a satisfied team, and good team management all affect the bottom line. What’s more, clients and customers notice when strategic HR is missing.

Align HR with company-wide strategy. Even when company plans and targets do not explicitly include an HR function, it is necessary to collaborate with managers to ensure that people-first systems support overarching company goals. After all, the success of company growth is largely dependent upon the actions of its HR function.

Part of this function is to encourage your CEO and other high-level management to see the value in their people and teams. One way to encourage a company culture that fosters that whole-person well-being is to take a strategic approach to leadership style. Work with other managers to develop visible leadership which breaks down barriers to communication and fosters strong company culture and employee satisfaction.

Invest in Yourself to Lead Change

It is more important than ever to develop new skills to match what a post-pandemic workplace culture requires of HR professionals. It may be intimidating to take on this new approach to HR. But we promise, you are up to the task.

Start where you are. Start now. It’s time to learn new ways to develop the human in human resources.

Marcus Sawyerr (founder of EQ Community) encourages HR leaders to bring forth change. Part of the job is now to see around corners. To look ahead and take a proactive, over a reactive, approach to human resources. Be strategic. See problems before they arise. Follow through on implementing new strategies and practices. Become a people expert.

To lead this change, we encourage you to seek out educational resources such as those provided by SHRM. Attend conferences. Network with other HR professionals and also with new potential talent. Seek out warm intros from people outside of your typical network.

Engaging with leaders and HR experts of differing perspectives allows you to bring new things to the table that you may never have thought of on your own.

Staying ahead of issues before they arise will position you as a value-add to your company and provide opportunities for personal career growth. Focus on your people, but also where you personally can add the most value to your team and your organization.

If you are ready to invest in yourself, join our Quirky HR Coaching community. You’ll get expert coaching to stay ahead of the changes happening in the HR world and become an expert yourself in strategic HR. Plus you’ll have access to an exclusive community of other HR partners to bounce ideas off of as you grow and implement strategic practices.

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