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The New Role of HR In Today’s Business World

HR’s role is evolving, and rapidly! It’s no longer just about the paperwork or keeping track of holidays. HR is stepping up, ready to take on a more strategic role that’s all about driving growth and shaping the future of organisations. In this blog, we’re diving into how HR can shift from being in the background to leading the charge, making a real difference in how businesses thrive.

The Collaborative CPSO Role

To embrace strategic leadership, HR professionals must see beyond the day-to-day grind. HR must integrate HR objectives with the overarching vision of the organisation. This means getting into the room with the top executives and contributing to the strategic game plan.

Imagine a C-suite team with a CEO, CFO, and two Chief Strategy Officers — one focused on Business Strategy (CBSO) and the other on People Strategy (CPSO). The CPSO’s role isn’t limited to HR tasks anymore; they’re now collaborating closely with the CBSO to align HR strategies with broader business objectives. This collaborative approach ensures that HR initiatives are not only geared towards developing and motivating the workforce but also contribute to overall business growth and success.

Reflecting on HR’s Strategic Value

HR is playing a more strategic role in corporate development. It’s all about thinking big and long-term.

Everyone in leadership, HR included, needs to be thinking about how to grow the business smarter.

Luke ToddMadeYou Co-Founder

But what if your company doesn’t have a Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO)? Maybe it’s because HR hasn’t been seen as a big part of the company’s strategy. It’s time to think about whether HR is really helping the company move forward. Are you stuck in day-to-day tasks, like sorting out payroll and handling employee requests, or are you helping shape the company’s future? Take a moment to think about where you stand and how you can make a bigger impact.

Transitioning to Strategic Leadership

With a bigger picture in mind, transforming into strategic leaders becomes our next leap. Moving from just doing tasks to being a strategic leader is a big change. It may not be an easy one, but it’s very doable. You’re now focusing more on developing talent, building strong relationships with top executives, and empowering your team to do great things. It’s also important to set aside time to think about big-picture ideas and plan for the future. Instead of just reacting to what’s happening now, start thinking about what the company will need in the months and years to come.

  • Start by taking a good look at where you’re at and where you want to go.
  • Think about your day-to-day conversations —are they mostly about short-term fixes or long-term goals?
  • Think about your approach. Are you black and white, or do you navigate the grey areas? Shifting from reactive to proactive thinking takes effort but pays off.
  • Before diving into strategic leadership, ensure your team’s basics are solid. Identify emerging talents, dependable performers, and high achievers to streamline operations.
  • Within your HR team, clarify roles and foster strong relationships. HRBPs should align with senior management, admins should provide support, and payroll should coordinate with HR and finance.
  • Senior HR professionals should build rapport directly with the C-suite by scheduling regular meetings to understand their goals and recognise outstanding performers. They should take charge, grow, and add value to the team.
  • When talking with senior leaders, keep it strategic. Focus on big-picture strategies and avoid getting lost in the details. For example, when chatting with the Chief Commercial Officer, get them to focus on their strategic goals and then understand how HR can assist them in achieving them.

Transitioning to strategic leadership in HR requires dedication, but the rewards are immense. By focusing on developing talent, fostering strong relationships, and keeping a strategic mindset, you can make a significant impact within your organisation. Remember to continuously assess and adapt your approach, embracing change and seeking opportunities for growth.

Practical Tips for Strategic Thinking

To get better at thinking strategically, try setting aside at least 3 hours a week to brainstorm ideas. Find a quiet space, grab a whiteboard if you can, and think about ways HR can really make a difference to the company. Consider ways to optimise performance, keep employees engaged, and groom individuals for future key roles. Focus on what will have the biggest impact. Don’t worry if you don’t have all the answers right away; the important thing is to start thinking differently about your role and how you can contribute to the company’s success.

Analysing Return on Investment

Brainstorming is just one piece of the puzzle, though. Now, we need to make sure our ideas really pay off. It’s not enough to have good ideas; we need to think about whether they’re worth the investment. That means considering both the costs and the benefits. As HR leaders, we need to understand how our decisions and initiatives, both short-term and long-term, positively affect the company’s bottom line. Think about how your moves contribute to making the company grow and run smoother and how your team fits into that puzzle.

Now, you need to think about what you’re getting back for what you’re putting in. Will your idea save money or make money? For example, boosting the effectiveness of revenue-related roles can increase revenue, while improving efficiency can lead to cost savings. Plus, boosting morale can reduce turnover, also resulting in cost savings. Every idea needs a good think-through on what it brings back.

Imagine your Chief Commercial Officer wants to dive into a new market. It’s a big move with its share of risks. They’ve got to show that the money they’ll make from this new market outweighs the risks, and that it’s not too tough to jump in. They’ll crunch numbers on everything from hiring staff to marketing costs and weigh that against what they think they’ll make.

While HR professionals often talk about keeping the team happy and motivated, it’s crucial to break that down into Cost-Benefit Analysis (CBA) to stay on target.

When you’re telling your story, think of it like a new story no one has heard before:

  • Start with where things are now and what the numbers look like.
  • Talk about where you want to end up.
  • Pinpoint the business metrics or Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) you’re aiming to shake up, including ones related to revenue.
  • Clarify roles and responsibilities to ensure everyone understands who is involved and the level of accountability expected from them.
  • When presenting your plan, lead with the numbers you aim to change, followed by your objectives. If the numbers support you, you may not need to delve deeply into the ‘why’ unless it significantly strengthens your argument.

As a Chief People Strategy Officer, remember that your role is not just about presenting plans, but about strategically aligning HR initiatives with the company’s goals and bottom line. Think about how each action contributes to the overall strategy and profitability of the organisation. By focusing on the numbers and objectives that matter most, you can effectively communicate the value of HR’s contributions to the company’s success.

Leveraging Employer Branding

Let’s take Employer Branding as an example. While many HR professionals focus solely on its cost-saving benefits in recruitment and retention, strategic HR leaders look deeper. They understand that enhancing recruitment and team alignment doesn’t just save costs; it directly impacts revenue. Keeping top talent in commercial roles is a prime example. By keeping exceptional employees onboard, companies ensure uninterrupted revenue streams within departments.

HR is moving into a big, new role: becoming strategic leaders. But taking the first step in this big shift can feel pretty daunting. You’re now a part of making sure everything HR does helps the company hit its goals. That means keeping employees happier for longer and sparking new ideas that help the company grow. HR has a huge part to play.

So, if you’re ready to step up your HR game and really make a difference, check out our One-to-One Coaching program. They’re made just for people like you – who want to grow their leadership skills and think more strategically. Let’s help you become the leader your company is looking for, ready to tackle the next big thing.

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