It’s Not the Seat at the Table, It’s What You Bring to the Table

It’s Not the Seat at the Table, It’s What You Bring to the Table

HR CEO Board Meeting

By Jeff Russell – GeniusHR

Synopsis: A seat at the executive table requires a different mindset and a different approach to HR’s strategic role in business.

A recent Forbes article is creating quite a stir in the HR community. In It’s Time for Companies to Fire Their Human Resource Departments, the author makes the case that HR departments often speak in gibberish, revel in red tape, are heedless of the big picture, live in a bubble, and incorrectly believe that they are the pinnacle of their organization. The most painful claim was that using HR as talent spotters makes the same sense as having a florist make the picks for a basketball team roster.  Its basic thesis is that HR is either buried in paperwork from the endless process of regulations, or when they do look up they have no clue as to what the company does. Not a lot of value to pay for the seat at the big table.

A lot of buzz from HR pros about this suggests they (reluctantly) agree with the article.  So why is this perception hitting a nerve? I submit that HR spends so much time and energy complying with the never ending stream of federal and state regulations that they have less time to think than Custer did at the Little Bighorn.  As the saying goes, when you’re surrounded by alligators it’s hard to remember that the original mission was to drain the swamp.

HR professionals must earn that table seat by applying their skills in lowering costs and boosting productivity among the workforce.  There are two ways to get the CEO’s attention: making more money, or saving more money. It’s that simple.  HR person can no longer rely on the claim that we are saving you from legal liability.  That’s as exciting as my insurance agent telling me, we’ve got you covered.

If you’re an HR professional, it’s time to clear the decks and show that the department can be a lean, mean machine that goes beyond just compliance to reduce turnover, lower employee acquisition costs, and increase productivity of the workforce.  To do this, though, requires time to develop and execute a plan.  Which means you have to modernize the way your department processes the routine “donkey work” that consumes so much of everyone’s time.

Automating the processes for complying with the various regulations such as FMLA, FLSA, ADA, GINA, HIIPPA, USERRA, and ICE is one place to start. With the time gained through automation, HR can offer more compliance training programs for line managers to prevent costly violations of employment laws.

Where’s the solution, this magic shield, this pill of power for the HR department?  A good HRIS system with built-in compliance features will allow you to bring real value to the table by taking over your most time-consuming processes. Automating things like applicant tracking, onboarding, and position announcements frees up hours of time, allowing you to focus more on employee productivity and talent retention. Bringing things like this to the table, you’ll get your seat.

About the Author:

Jeff Russell is an entrepreneur with two successful past ventures under his belt before creating the company that became GeniusHR. Most notably, he served as Chief Technology Officer and Chief Operating Officer for OneTravel, one of the industry’s first consumer-focused online travel agencies. He is a longtime observer and tinkerer in the area of administrative efficiency, believing that a common sense approach works best every time. His current specialty is the HR function in small to mid-size enterprises. In 2010, Jeff began work on the technology platform that is the basis for GeniusHR and currently serves as its CEO and Chief Thinker.

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