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“HR under unprecedented pressure to lift its game”

By September 22, 2010Uncategorized

HR professionals carry the responsibility of championing progress and change in one of the most important areas of an organization – its people. One of the most challenging aspects of this is measuring the impact HR departments have on business performance.

This is especially true around CSR and issues like diversity and inclusion. Great HR professionals know that diversity makes good business sense, but if HR is not equipped with the tools to measure the impact, how will anybody else know?

In a recent discussion on LinkedIn’s HRPA group, Phil Johnson, an Organizational Change Coach, speaker and author, posted the following:

HR under unprecedented pressure to lift its game

HR departments face unprecedented pressure to lift their game and become more aligned to key strategic drivers of business performance. Measurement of HR performance is requiring practitioners to demonstrate their contribution to high-level corporate goals.

HR must deliver measurable returns that support strategic objectives and outcomes. Increasingly, HR practitioners will need to put aside the narrow metrics of HR activities and focus on broader business outcomes. HR practitioners will need to keep pace with dynamic change and articulate critical strategic issues that are of central importance to the business.

They will have to think about how “the people element” adds value at every stage of the organisation and consider factors that both “enhance and dilute” that value. Conversations with HR about HR are transactional. The new value chain for HR is conversations that are transformational – talking to business leaders about business issues.

His insights resonated with several other group members, who chimed in nothing the evolution of HR within organizations, “from transactional HR Managers to transformational HR leaders.”

Todd Humber of Canadian HR Reporter commented on the timeliness of this post, adding that an interview with academic John Boudreau in the upcoming October 4 issue will address the topic of “retooling” HR.

It seems that one of the biggest challenges that lie ahead for HR professionals in Canada will be measuring and communicating successes in a way that engages leaders outside the human resources realm.

Of course, some functions of HR are more measurable than others and metrics like turnover, absenteeism, recruitment costs, etc. are more evidently linked to business goals than others. Many HR professionals find the biggest hurdle to overcome is around championing diversity and inclusion initiatives.

While we know that inclusive organizations are employer-of-choice, attract top talent and relate best with the Canadian and global markets, not all organizations are measuring the impact of their diversity efforts or effectively communicating them across the organization.

Many HR departments are doing this effectively, but there are still challenges, and until the HR profession as a whole has the tools to demonstrate the link between inclusion and business performance, gaining alignment across organizations at all levels from front-line to senior management may continue to be an uphill climb.

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