A Catalyst for Company Success


Harnessing the Full Power of HR in a Changing Economy

From preventing workplace behavior that could threaten a company’s reputation to recruiting and retaining talent, the importance of human resources is apparent. Additionally, companies are struggling to harmonize the work styles of various generations, unify the efforts of workers in disparate locations, and adjust to the changing nature of work in the digital age.

We spoke with the CEO of HR Certification Institute (HRCI), Amy Schabacker Dufrane, Ed.D., SPHR, CAE, about how the role of HR has evolved and what companies can do to maximize HR’s impact.

How has the role of HR changed over the past 25 years, and what does its future look like?

Many HR functions have become automated, which frees up HR teams to provide strategic thinking and analysis to help organizations outperform the competition.

HR’s influence is expected to grow exponentially in the coming years because most businesses now realize the importance of getting the right talent and making sure employees and teams thrive.

How important is company culture and what role does HR play in its development?

With millennials moving into management positions, it’s incredibly important. They demand that company culture aligns with their values – it’s a high priority in their job searches.

“HR professionals should be 100 percent integrated into the business and need to be prepared to be business leaders, not just HR leaders.”

Another component is embracing diversity. I speak to many CEOs about that, but HR is crucial to helping organizations strategize the best ways to become more diverse.

Culture is set in the boardroom, not through HR. But HR can make sure that company culture stays at the forefront of every discussion and is modeled at every level. The old adage that culture eats strategy for breakfast is really true.

What are some of the biggest challenges facing organizations today and how can HR help to address them?

HRCI has identified three major challenges that every organization should be thinking about for success in ever-changing work environments:

Be able to adapt to change. Technological and cultural evolutions have changed how and where we work. Businesses can only be successful if they’re able to adapt to these changes and stay current on the latest strategies, technologies and talent skill sets. An HR team that’s tied into the business strategy can be invaluable when helping organizations adapt to change.

Grow and nurture your talent. A recent survey by Career-Builder in partnership with Inavero found 76 percent of full-time workers are either actively looking for a job or open to new opportunities. At the same time, 48 percent of employers are unable to fill their job vacancies.

An HR team with the proficiencies to develop recruitment and retention strategies can help protect and grow a company’s most important asset: its people.

Minimize risk. Risk management continues to be a priority for many C-suite executives. Thanks to social media, viral videos and sensationalized news, companies face a new set of challenges that require expertise in how to avoid – or handle – these problems. Having an HR team with a grasp on best practices plays an integral part in risk management by helping create high internal standards that are in line with a company’s culture.

How can an organization best prepare for these challenges?

Companies can rest assured their HRCI-certified professionals have critical thinking capabilities and are current on best practices. They help minimize risk because they know what the risks are. HRCI-certified teams have the skills to ensure the company can anticipate future needs. They know how to hire and retain the right talent to meet the organization’s goals.

What is HR’s role in preparing the next generation for leadership roles?

HR must work with leadership to improve culture and make sure the new generation of employees have the opportunity to become future leaders. Having a professional development plan in place is essential to any retention strategy.

Millennials place a premium on being able to make an impact with their talent and are eager to work for organizations that align with their values. When they don’t achieve this with their current organization, they go elsewhere.

What does it mean for HR professionals to be change agents, and how can companies encourage that?

HR professionals should be 100 percent integrated into the business and need to be prepared to be business leaders, not just HR leaders. Employee turnover and employee satisfaction data is just noise until it’s analyzed and turned into a comprehensive strategy that can help a company succeed.

They need to understand how their industries are evolving and how their organizations are impacted. They also need to know where the organization wants to be in one, three, five years down the road and work with leadership to achieve those goals.

HR is more than hiring, benefits, policy and the like. Companies that bring HR into their business strategy are more successful.

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