By Jessica Miller-Merrell
When executives talk about what makes a company successful, they often use terms like profit, sales and revenue, but when it comes down to the critical conversations of how to make it all happen, the talks soon turn to people. I guarantee that at the heart of the majority of C-suite conversations is the issue of people. How to get the best, where the best are working, how to keep employees satisfied, the skills and abilities of key players, and I could go on and on. It isn’t money that makes the world go round. It’s people.
However, all too often we see that the areas of the business that get the most attention and focus are the ones that sign the deals and bring in the clients, not the ones hiring and maintaining the workforce. In fact, HR tends to have a negative reputation within many organizations, despite the fact that they are the very people that have brought the company’s workforce together.
The invisible glue
As the saying goes, “Out of sight, out of mind.” In the majority of companies, HR tends to play a behind-the-scenes role in keeping the company’s workforce fully staffed and productive. There’s nothing wrong with the rest of the company never seeing that magic, except when it comes time to talk about how it all happened. It’s a sad fact that unless your actions had a direct impact on the outcome, your contribution may go unnoticed. There’s nothing wrong with playing a supporting role, but it’s vital that leaders understand how HR plays a role in the company’s success.
Proving our value through partnerships
Sales teams have spreadsheets full of numbers that can place a monetary value on the impact they’ve made, but supporting players have to work a little harder to help outsiders understand their value. Leaders often don’t understand our roles as human resources and recruiting practitioners. They don’t fully fathom why our roles are so important because our influence indirectly impacts the results they see.
Because of this, it becomes part of our job to help others understand just what it is that HR does and why it’s so important. To do so, we can’t simply declare that we’re valuable. We have to show it. One of the best ways that we can do this is to develop partnerships with key business areas within your company. Partnerships can prove to be incredibly valuable, allowing leaders to put a name with the results they’ve been seeing. It’s a simple fact that our influence and impact is hard to grasp, which means that we must help people see the role we play. Partnerships, relationships and alliances with business units, key influencers and income-generating areas of the business will help the HR department to visibly demonstrate how your talent acquisition and retention skills are linked to the success of a company.
By developing these partnerships, we’re also sending a message to those business areas that the human resources team wants to understand that part of the business better as well and be fully equipped with knowledge that will help to source talent that is a perfect fit.
It’s never a bad idea to invest time into the business units you work closely with, but the need to illustrate HR’s value makes it even more important to develop strategic partnerships throughout the organization.
Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology strategist specializing in social media. She’s is the Chief Blogger & Founder of Blogging4Jobs. You can follow her on Twitter @jmillermerrell.