HR’s Silent Struggle: 5 Strategies for Gaining Ground and Influence

Strategies for Gaining Ground and Influence

In the latest episode of my podcast, GGG Unleashed: Better Leaders, Better Workplaces, listeners are treated to an enlightening conversation with Michele Fantt Harris, Former Executive Vice President, Human Resources for National Cooperative Bank, and Founder and CEO of MFH Associates. The episode dives into strategies for HR leaders to gain recognition for the critical role HR plays in delivering effective business outcomes. 

McLean & Company’s 2023 HR Trends study found that while perceptions of HR’s effectiveness among non-HR professionals has improved, only around 40%, not even half, perceive HR as highly effective overall. So bottom line, while HR needs to be in a position to propel the transformation in organizations, there’s still a lot of work to be done there.

Michele’s insights shed light on five important strategies to elevate HR’s influence and impact.

  1. Amplifying the HR Voice in Business Strategy:
    “Being at the table, understanding the direction that the organization is going helps the HR leader to be a better leader in guiding her team and in guiding the human resources and human capital strategy.”

    By understanding every business line, their needs, and the future direction of each unit and organization overall, you become a better business partner. Bring those insights back to your HR team, and collaborate with business partners on strategies to achieve those outcomes. Connect human capital implications early in strategic discussions. This angle is often an afterthought, when it should be integrated across the decision-making process. Including the chief HR officer (CHRO) in presentations to executive boards emphasizes the partnership and ensures that the organization’s human-centric approach is at the forefront.

    Consider This: What strategies have been effective in amplifying HR’s voice in your organization? How can you replicate those successes more consistently?
  1. Unleashing the Potential of Employee Engagement:
    “Money is important, but engaged employees who are learning and growing are willing to sacrifice a higher salary for personal and professional development.”

    One of the vital elements HR brings to the table is an understanding of what motivates and retains employees. Know the people in your company, know what drives them, why they stay with your organization, and why they come to your organization. Leaders must go beyond monetary incentives and focus on fostering an engaged workforce that values growth and development opportunities. Engaged employees are willing to make sacrifices for personal and professional growth, underscoring the importance of investing in their continuous learning journey.

    Consider This: What motivates individuals to stay or join your organization beyond salary?
  1. Harnessing the Power of Data Analytics:
    “By using change management strategies, conducting employee surveys, and analyzing data on employee turnover, HR leaders can help shape decisions that drive employee satisfaction and talent retention.”

    Many organizations possess HR and information systems, but they often underutilize the analytics generated by these systems. There is a need for team members who can harness the power of data analytics effectively. By leveraging data insights, HR leaders can identify trends, predict future workforce needs, and guide informed decisions to support the overall business strategy.

    Consider This: How can organizations effectively utilize analytics from HR and information systems data to drive decision-making?
  1. Elevating HR’s Influence in the C-Suite:
    “Having a seat at the executive table allows HR professionals to integrate the human capital strategy with the business strategy and align their work with the organization’s goals.”

    Although senior HR executives may have a seat at the table, there is an ongoing struggle for their direct reports, such as VPs and directors, to be invited to the operational strategy discussions. This lack of representation leads to critical business strategy and operational capacity gaps. HR leaders should focus on big-picture human capital issues, relate them to the industry and company’s lines of business, and demonstrate their value in driving organizational success.

    Consider This: What challenges do senior-level HR executives face in having an influential voice within their organization?
  1. Creating a Human-Centric Organization:
    “Creating a human-centric organization is crucial for employee retention in the current environment.”

    The current work environment demands a human-centric approach to foster employee retention and well-being. Michele shares her experience of integrating the HR team into operational councils and committees where strategic and operational work takes place. Organizations can build a more engaged and loyal workforce by championing a human-centric culture

    BONUS TIP: Connect for Success
    “Having a network of HR professionals outside of your company and industry is crucial for gaining insight into industry trends and comparing benefits packages.

    Build your network of professionals within and outside your company, attend conferences, and join peer groups and industry-specific HR organizations. These connections and insights will enable you to stay informed and engaged with emerging trends and practices.

Empowering HR

Our goal is to empower HR leaders to recognize and harness their power. Organizations can drive positive workforce growth, employee engagement, and overall success by bringing HR to the table and working in partnership around these five core strategies. As the workplace continues to evolve, it is imperative to maximize the knowledge and expertise of HR professionals to create better leaders and thriving workplaces.

Meet the Guest

Michele was featured on my Meet the Guest virtual workshop where we had a chance to go deeper on these and other HR leadership strategies. Check out the video recording here.

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Take Your Seat at the Table with Confidence

Attention HR Leaders!

  • Does your HR Department have a reputation for being more of a ‘support’ function?  
  • Does your team often feel undervalued, overlooked, and overwhelmed?
  • Have you moved up in HR but struggle to be seriously considered for career opportunities outside of HR?
  • Has what you’ve tried so far to be invited to the table for strategic decisions not gotten you the results you had hoped or need?
  • Are you ready for this to change?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, it’s time for you to take steps toward that change. 

Join me for the upcoming Seat at the Table HR Leaders Circle Summit, November 2 – 4. Collaborate with other HR leaders like you and recognized experts on getting that seat at the table and the respect you and your team deserve. 

You’ll walk away with: 

  • Your 5-Point HR’s Seat at the Table Playbook Strategy for you and your team.
  • A roadmap to strengthen your influence and impact.
  • The confidence to make it happen.

Want to learn more? Let’s have a conversation to see if you qualify and if it’s right for you.

Don’t delay. Registration opens soon, and limited spots are available. 

Tune In

Stay tuned for the next episode of our popular podcast “GGG Unleashed: Better Leaders, Better Workplaces” where we’ll explore next-gen strategies to re-engineer talent retention. This episode drops on September 12. Don’t miss it!

Thank you, as always, for being part of our community. 

Wishing you continued success and growth,

Vivian Blade

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Vivian Blade

Michele Fantt Harris

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My books explore the crucial topics of resiliency, influence, leadership, career advancement, and more!

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She’s a woman on a mission, prepped and ready to help you create resilient leaders and a workplace that is poised to succeed. Having weathered her fair share of corporate and career crises of all sizes, Vivian Blade MBA, MBB, PMP, is a global leadership expert and thought leader who equips leaders with the resilience that inspires teams to recover quickly in the face of ongoing disruption and thrive in spite of insurmountable odds.

Vivian empowers leaders and organizations as a frequent keynote speaker for association conferences and in delivering transformative leadership development programs, executive coaching and consulting for corporations.

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