To summarise the question: what can you do to alter the perception of HR at the organisation that you work at? Can you make yourself appreciated and indispensable?
Most senior people at any organisation will be focused on three key issues: increasing sales, cost reduction and the improving profitability that these two should bring about. Many people feel that HR is strictly an administrative overhead and a consumer resource. That is why it is outsourced if at all possible. If you are simply performing what were perceived as traditional HR functions e.g. Payroll, administration and record keeping, it is easy to see how you will be undervalued.
The simplest way (which is not actually easy) to get your position appreciated is for people to see HR as a department that actually generates. In the USA, many executives now feel that HR should partner with other departments to improve core competencies and providing the company with competitive advantage. Here are some tips:
1. Ensure that executives are aware of the ROI for training.Whether you are outsourcing your training, delivering it yourself or a combination of these, are you working out an ROI for training? If so, are you effectively sharing this knowledge so that both training and your role are appreciated? Are you making people AWARE of how your actions are benefiting them, and helping them reach their goals?
Remember, almost everybody thinks about any activity from a WIIFM frame of mind. What's In It For Me? So if you show a sales director how your sales training improved their division's performance by 15%, and they hot their targets for the first time in a couple of years, don't you think that they're going to appreciate you a whole lot more? And if you can show that that 15% increase in sales only cost a fraction of that, and had a significant return, they're going to appreciate you EVEN MORE.
2. Contribute towards the increase in revenue.Let's keep looking at you can impact revenue, and profit. It's a massive issue for almost every company, and if you can do this, you're no longer thought of as just as admin function.
While your organisation may have sales managers, directors etc, is there anything that you can do to improve revenue? Increasingly, US companies are having HR people attend sales calls with sales people or provide on the job coaching. This then gives them the ability to offer feedback directly to the sales person. Even if it does not translate into actual revenue, perhaps you can help add value to a deal? Companies have even reported that having an HR person in on a call has meant that their clients are happier to form alliances or preferred relationships, therefore increasing sales from regular clients.
3. Contribute to reducing costsAs the expert in human resource management, can you see anything in the company that could cause a cost reduction? If so, have you made the suggestion to the relevant department? It does not mean identifying roles that can be removed and cut staff. (It does include that, but so much more!)
It might mean making the right suggestion about a particular training course for a specific person to improve their performance. They may also suggest changes that save on travel or accommodation charges. Perhaps in areas such as discipline, a suggestion on an alternative way of dealing with the situation could save money.
To accomplish any of the above is going to require you to be proactive, rather than passive and wait for issues to reach you. Similarly, being liked as well as appreciated will require you to be proactive. Does your organisation have a social committee that arranges small team building events? If not, why not be the person to start one? Go out of your way to make friends, rather than wait for them to come to you.
Onto one final suggestion which might go against everything in you. Even if only part of the time, many HR staff are allowed to work from home. While it may be convenient and enables you to save on travel costs etc, why not consider going into the office for some of this time? You should be seen to be there as if you are a part of the company. It makes it a lot harder to outsource your role if you are seen and known as well as being dealt with as a person.Besides, if you're seen by people, it's perceived that you're doing things. (You may get just as much, if not more, done at home, but are people AWARE of it?)
Also, if you’re going to be coming up with creative suggestions to achieve the above, is it not easier to accomplish if you are actually at work and seeing how people operate? By changing your mind and perception of things, others are bound to follow. Start with yours truly and make yourself indispensible.
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