(Editor’s Note: Today’s post is brought to you by our friends at Paycom, a leading provider of cloud-based human capital management software. Paycom was recently recognized by Glassdoor with an Employees’ Choice Award as one of the best large-sized companies in the U.S. Congrats to them! Enjoy the article.)
According to the Bureau of National Affairs, employee turnover costs U.S. businesses an estimated $11 billion in lost revenue each year. It’s probably not a surprise that turnover is expensive. What might be surprising is how expensive turnover can be. And while HR departments are traditionally responsible for calculating turnover rate, they are not typically responsible for that result.
Statistics like turnover are both a strategic imperative for the business and an opportunity for HR. We have an obligation not only to share the numbers but to lead the discussion about employee recruitment, engagement, and retention. We’re considered to be the resident experts in these areas, and we can use our expertise to bring value to the bottom line. Here are five activities to consider using when we want our ideas to be heard.
5 Activities to Demonstrate Strategic HR
1. Understand the business. We often use a PESTLE analysis to gain insights about the business. PESTLE being an acronym for political, economic, social, technology, legal, and environmental. Why not use the information we discover during PESTLE to build a business case for your ideas.
Let’s take the turnover example that I mentioned above. What if part of the challenge is that organizations have too many technology solutions that aren’t speaking to each other? Employees are doing double (or triple!) the work? Paycom has a Cost of Multiple HRIS Systems online calculator that can help put those numbers together. We know employees today want a technology experience that mirrors the one they have in their personal lives. Businesses need to ask themselves whether they are delivering an excellent employee experience.
2. Speak your company’s “love language”. Author Gary Chapman’s Five Love Languages concept says to effectively express yourself, you must understand how others receive and process information. The business application of Chapman’s book is know your audience. This ties into the first strategic objective of understanding the business. Once we know what’s going on, then we can refer to problems and solutions in the same context as other managers and executives.
The time to make sure every employee is speaking the same language is during orientation and onboarding. When I worked at the airline, we gave new employees a glossary. The industry was full of jargon! I left a company where AP meant accounts payable and went to a company where AP represented airframe and powerplant mechanic. Big difference!! Think about the cost of your onboarding program and how speaking the same language adds value.
3. Think “how”. I believe the way to create high performance is by having a BHAG (big hairy audacious goal). Everyone agrees on the goal and works together toward achieving that goal. But frankly, organizations aren’t going to achieve their goals if they spend more time talking about what they can’t do (versus what they can do). It reminds me of an employment attorney who, whenever I called with a question would ask, “What do you want to do?”. Ninety-nine percent of the time, we could do what we wanted to do.
In thinking about employee recruiting and retention, this might also be a good time to discuss whether the organization would have a better chance of success if a technology solution was able to reduce the amount of manual processes currently in place. How can we create an employee experience that makes people want to stay?
4. Support customer-friendly policies. In strategy number three (above), we talked about solutions. It’s important to note that the answer to every problem isn’t to create a new policy. In fact, I think the more time I spend in HR, the more I think the first question organizations need to ask is “Do we need a policy or procedure about that?” because I wonder how many organizations might answer “not really”.
But if after thinking really hard about it, the answer is “yes”, then by all means…write a policy. Sometimes there’s a cost to noncompliance. However, it is possible to be compliant and customer-friendly at the same time. It takes understanding the business (see number one). HR pros are in a perfect position to guide the organization on this point.
5. Solve the people problems that impact the business. Readers of this blog know that I love metrics. Over time, I’ve come to realize that there are stages when we need to use people analytics to gather the right data and create actionable results. Like when we’re trying to help the business find and retain the best talent.
This is ultimately our goal. HR’s strategic role is to help the organization solve their people challenges. Because when we do, that benefits the bottom line. The first rule of solving business problems is to get buy-in. Not only from senior management but from employees. For example, we’ve been talking about using technology to improve the employee experience (and reduce turnover). Well, if employees don’t buy-into the solution…then the problem didn’t really get solved.
Bring Your Strategic HR Value!
I didn’t want today’s article to be one of those typical “human resources professionals need to bring value to the business” articles. Everyone who works for the company – including HR – needs to bring value. I did want to share some ways that everyone – including HR – can bring strategic value. They’re good reminders no matter where you are in your career.
And I wanted to share with you the Paycom online calculators. I know many HR pros are looking for opportunities to quantify what they already know anecdotally. I find that this could be a great resource.
If you’d like to learn more about how human resources can bring more strategic value to the business, check out this Paycom webinar recording “Discover What Strategic HR Can Do for Your Organization”. It is pre-approved for one professional development credit (PDC) from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).17