How to make HR more impactful

To make HR more impactful, people management teams should empower its people, be armed with the right tools, and change their mindset. Geoffroy de Lestrange writes.

Many HR people may feel like they get bogged down in admin, and don’t have time for planning and strategic tasks. While this can be frustrating, it will always be that way unless they try to make things different. Managers may also be waiting for HR to make the first move. For instance, a recent study we did with IDC of European HR and line of business managers found that 80 percent of line of business managers believe HR is important for digital success – so it’s clear that the rest of the business sees value in HR beyond payroll and compliance.

Change doesn’t just happen, it needs to be made to happen. For HR to bring true business value, it needs to cover the basics, empower its people, arm themselves with the right tools, and change their mindset. Here are some practical tips from us that can help HR on its journey.

Simplify your systems

People like familiarity, and no-one wants to read a manual before getting started. Create a simple and easy-to-use human capital management system so employees and managers immediately understand and want to use your interface. HR needs to think with the end-user in mind, and borrow design elements from online sites everyone is used to using, such as Facebook, Google, and LinkedIn.

Empower employees to update own data

We all understand the concept of self-service – so why should it be any different at work? Give employees a way to update their information so it’s done in real-time, and focus on the simple things like updating an address. This approach will reduce admin and free up HR’s time to focus on the more important and impactful jobs.

Help managers drive development and performance

Managers want autonomy to manage their team, so HR should give them tools to simplify tasks like recruiting, evaluating and team planning. Doing so will help managers better look after their staff, and will let HR have the freedom to step back and focus on more strategic areas.

Communicate purpose

It’s quite simple really – if employees and managers understand why certain admin needs to be done, they’re more likely to do it. For HR, it’s about communicating how their role fits into the bigger picture, so speak to your colleagues and help them understand.

Establish good relationships

Better relationships with managers will help HR people extract information that managers know and HR don’t. For example, understanding who’s a flight risk or where skills gaps exist will help form a long-term workforce strategy.

Think mobile

Anything not built for mobile has a limited lifespan. We rely more and more on our mobile devices as they become smarter and our workstyle changes to become more ‘on-the-go’. Create all content for mobile.

Arm yourself with insight

With accurate and reliable information, HR has the insight to make better data-driven decisions. Ensure you have this data and stop making decisions on intuition alone. Data is plentiful, it’s foolish not to use it.

Become a data journalist

There is such a thing as too much information. HR must learn data journalism skills and convey data insight to management in a meaningful and digestible way. Often visual dashboards can really help with this.

Cosy up to the IT department

Good insight helps HR understand areas that need tweaks versus those need a complete overhaul. This gives focus to discussions with IT, and can help HR and IT work collaboratively during bigger transformation projects.

Get smart with predictive analytics

Use data to anticipate and address issues before they become a real problem. Algorithms do the hard work, so HR should use this insight to inform business decisions on the future needs of the workforce.

If you aren’t following these tips already, it may be hard to implement them all at once. Start with one or two, and build up to the others from there. While it may seem like a big job to do, the payoff will be worth the time invested in doing it, giving HR the capacity to focus on strategic tasks that result in real business impacts.

Geoffroy de Lestrange is an HR solutions expert from Cornerstone OnDemand.

Praseeda Nair

Praseeda Nair

Praseeda was Editor for from 2016 to 2018.

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