Wherever you look, the world of work is currently undergoing major change. The working population needs to acquire new skills and abilities to keep up with technological and social developments. At the same time, key corporate goals naturally remain the same – to survive on the market, to make a profit, to cut costs, to make better use of resources, to deliver the perfect service, to be sustainable, and many more besides. This is the complex web of sometimes conflicting priorities in which HR works.
Why HR is so important
In this situation, the main task of HR specialists is to find answers. In essence, they deal with the following questions. How can we enable our staff to respond agilely, flexibly and dynamically to new requirements? Which approaches are effective, fast, and at the same time sustainable? How is it possible to transform the company in a way that carries our staff along? What can we learn from the current global developments? All these questions fundamentally touch on the skills of HR departments, because no one knows the employee structure as well as they do. No other department has such a complete overview of the expertise available in the company and what it will take to reach the targeted goals.
HR providing added value for companies
Against this backdrop, it makes sense to involve HR departments in strategic planning so as to make use of their knowledge and insight. One more thing is clear – if HR managers have helped draw up strategic goals, they will be far more convincing in communicating them than if they were only obeying orders. Working together with managers, HR helps initiate the necessary change processes, then supports them and drives them forward. This involves advising and coaching co-workers and managers and organizing training and development opportunities.
How to involve HR in strategic matters
To enable the HR department to become active on a strategic level, its tasks must first be redistributed. Increasing digitalization and the use of HR software have been speeding up this process for years, anyway. Two key factors are then necessary. The management should be clearly and explicitly behind the move to give HR a real voice. At the same time, HR professionals also have to want this new position and be able to fill it. This goes hand in hand with intensive involvement with strategies, targets, business models, market events, social developments and value creation processes.
Once the corporate goals and strategy have been decided, the motto is: “HR follows business”. Every activity – from employee recruitment and retention to staff development – contributes to the corporate goals. The HR department should always know exactly how staff are performing, where there is still a need for development and how social conditions and the skilled staff market look in comparison. HR tools and digital aids make it possible to keep these numbers, facts and data available at all times. New work both demands and supports change.