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6 steps to becoming a more strategic HR leader

Published: Dec 19, 2016
6 steps to becoming a more strategic HR leader

Many HR professionals would be inclined to think that their function contributes substantially and positively to business goals.

However, according to a report by SilkRoad, HR still faces many challenges which are blocking the function from aligning talent management with the overall company strategy.

Topping the list of challenges in the report was a lack of technology (45%), followed by lack of presence at the table when business decisions are being made (34%).

Shrinking HR budgets (31%), difficulty developing partnerships across teams (31%), and a lack of support from the executive team (20%) rounded up the top five challenges being faced by HR executives today.

“It’s time for action and new ideas that can strengthen HR’s contributions to business success and clarify those contributions to others,” the report stated.

“Start with a C-level mindset: think strategically, plan deliberately, and maintain a business outlook.”

The report included six steps which it identified as key to successfully aligning business strategy with talent management strategy.

Step 1: Find your starting point

Locate your starting point by assessing where your organisation’s HR function stands within these four levels – compliance-driven HR explorer, process-centered HR influencer, strategic HR leader or HR visionary.

Step 2: Identify strategic priorities

SilkRoad research found that a substantial portion (one-third) of HR organisations may not be working with a clear and complete understanding of their companies’ strategic initiatives

Identify strategic priorities by uncovering your company’s direction and goals and identifying the business drivers which HR needs to support.

Step 3: Know your talent risks

Identify the talent risks in your succession plan. You have to know where the gaps between the talent you have today and what you’ll need tomorrow in order to successfully support your company’s business goals.

Step 4: Get feedback

While most HR organisations (65%) meet with other departments “often” or “sometimes” to evaluate HR effectiveness, HR professionals should aim to move from ad-hoc meetings to regular, scheduled evaluation sessions

Gather feedback from other heads of departments and c-suite professionals in order to redirect your course and correct your strategy should it not be getting the desired results.

Step 5: Integrate your technology

Internal HR data is a strategic business asset. While having access to some data (recruiting for example) offers insights, you need to be able to gain insight across the full range of talent
management function to be viewed strategically and as a driver of business outcomes.

Have an integrated talent management system in order to analyse workforce data in a more strategic way and discover relationships between various factors such as leadership and performance or retention and learning.

Step 6: Measure and report value 

HR organisations at all levels—from “explorers” to “visionaries”—need to demonstrate their contributions to business success. With effective use of metrics, analytics, and reporting you can gain stronger executive support faster to accomplish your strategic  initiatives.