From small businesses to large corporations, a good human resources department is the lifeblood of a business. An HR department plays a vital role in the development of a business’ strategy, as well as being in charge of sourcing and retaining employees – ultimately, they are responsible for ensuring the highest possible return on the business’ investment in personnel. However, despite the crucial function they serve, HR is hugely underrepresented at board level.
Is it taken seriously enough?
To many employees, an HR director is seen as being heavily involved in day-to-day activities such as recruitment and training, which positions them at management level rather than the decision makers that would be expected on the board. Although HR roles are evolving in many businesses and incorporating more responsibilities, there is still room for them to establish themselves as serious contributors to their organisations. To enable this, HR executives should be encouraged to push for more communication with main board directors to get more involved in the strategy of the company as a whole.
The lack of HR representation at board level is somewhat surprising when you consider all of the issues that are discussed in the boardroom that are pertinent to their role. Decisions around recruitment, redundancies, and the development and training of staff are frequently made in the boardroom, so it stands to reason that an HR professional should be involved. Occasionally dismissed as the ‘softer’ side of a business, HR is a major contributor to the overall direction of the company and the accomplishment of its goals, so boards should consider giving it a seat at the table.
It’s also worth considering that in the past few years, automated HR systems have been introduced to many businesses to streamline processes and improve performance, which is monitored by the relevant HR managers. Using tools that quantify the successes of the department gives it more credibility and demonstrates value. If a board is concerned with hard facts and figures, the implementation of HR software can be the key to establishing the department as a major influence in the workplace. Additionally, having a system in place that takes care of the menial tasks and allows employees to perform their own admin frees up the HR teams to focus on the more strategic elements of their role.
Time to get on board?
Ultimately, a business’ success rests on having a productive and profitable workforce, and a good HR department is the driving force behind this. Employee satisfaction is at the heart of what they do – if you want your employees to be happy and engaged, it falls to the HR pros, so it’s time to consider if they are being given enough recognition in your organisation. Consider inviting your HR directors to more strategy meetings and delegating more responsibility to them – it’ll demonstrate that you appreciate their efforts and take them seriously as a department.