As the Role of HR Evolves, Have You?

Not long ago, managing hiring and employee compensation and benefits were an HR executive’s primary focus. With the increasing need of companies to create a positive employee experience to retain top performers, HR is becoming more fully integrated with the inner workings of a business. HR’s focus is now on creating a growth environment for employees, and being a partner with the C-suite.

HR leaders are increasingly tasked with influencing how leaders interact with employees and optimizing that interaction to retain employees and ultimately enable business success.

Unfortunately, outdated perceptions of HR can prevent companies from seeing true value HR leaders can bring to the table. Here are a number of key strategies HR leaders can employ to evolve their companies.

Get predictive: Shift from analysis to prediction

A “growth environment” might sound qualitative, but it’s actually measurable and thus manageable at scale. Using targeted employee pulse polls, HR leaders can understand how to build an environment where people are continuously evolving their skills.

Predictive analytics can help HR leaders forecast what attrition rates will look like in the future, and what key employee development actions can address negative attrition. Such analytics can also determine what roles to prospect for before they’re vacant, identify key motivators and map career paths.

Empathy and the multigenerational workforce

The workforce is changing generationally, and therefore in what employees want from a job and a company. HR leaders must understand how to motivate and recognize employees on an individual level and how to spot the signals when someone is feeling undervalued. Given that so much communication these days happens via technology (messaging, email or texting), it’s easy for empathy to get lost. HR’s role is to help managers create opportunities to be present and to listen empathetically, without allowing the ease of technology lead to breakdowns and misinterpretation. By showing the importance of human interaction, managers build their trust bank with their employees.

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Mission driven work: Connecting with a purpose

Our fast-paced environment makes it easy to get caught up in immediate results while ignoring that employees are progressing on their own professional journeys. HR leaders must make it a priority to ensure that employees also feel fulfilled in their work.

As HR professionals, we must create an environment in which employees feel their work is meaningful and provides purpose beyond profitability. We can do that by coaching managers on how to talk with employees about their values, and how to help them translate this to meaningful work at the company.  This conversation builds trust and gives managers insight into how best to recognize employee work. It is also essential that the company’s values are embedded in daily life through interviews, basis for feedback, promotion conversations, and as part of decision-making.

Technology can help

As you transition to this new role of a thought partner and growth enabler, employ the technology that will allow you to collect and analyze people and performance data, which will help you spot the issues and opportunities. By understanding objectively what works and what doesn’t to grow employees and provide a meaningful experience for them — rather than relying on hunches and assumptions — HR can be a champion in creating an outstanding culture that attracts and helps to retain top talent.

Rachel Ernst is director of employee success at Reflektive, focusing both on internal employee development, as well as building knowledge for Reflektive’s customers on change management, goal management, check-ins, real-time feedback and employee engagement polling. 

Her decade-plus background in HR spans compensation, learning and development, leadership coaching, people analytics and organizational design. She is passionate about evolving the performance management ecosystem to fulfill its ultimate goal of inspiring high performance through ongoing, real-time feedback. 

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