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It’s Time to Give HR a Seat in the Boardroom

14 August 2020 6 min read

hr in the boardroom

Your HR department is a driving force. They’re responsible for managing your workforce and as your organisation is nothing without its people, it’s fair to say that your organisation is nothing without its HR department.

Think of all the things your HR department does for your business. They’re chiefly responsible for recruiting and retaining your talent. They source the top talent your business needs to succeed. Then they do all they can to ensure that every person in every department is as safe and fulfilling as possible in their work.

So your HR team sources the best people for your business, then they work to keep them happy and healthy. And when employees are happy and healthy, they tend to be a lot more productive and a lot more loyal.

Your HR or People department and your employees are critical to your organisation’s growth and success. So isn’t it time you gave them a seat in the boardroom?

Why HR Belong in the Boardroom

Whether you realise it or not, many of the things the board discusses are HR issues. How often does the board discuss things like recruitment, redundancies, and training and development? These are all things that your HR team will ultimately have to manage. So it makes perfect sense to involve them in top-level discussions and the decision-making process.

Indeed, HR representatives on the board could help you to make better business decisions when it comes to your workforce. Thanks to advanced HR reporting tools, your HR team can bring key data-driven insights to the boardroom. So board decisions need not be based on guesswork and intuition. Instead, they can be based on reliable figures, along with the informed advice that only your HR team can provide.

How to Give HR a Seat in the Boardroom

Your HR department deserves boardroom representation. Involve them in the decision-making process and they can help guide your business’s future growth in a way that works for everyone.

But it’s still unusual to find a boardroom with a chair for an HR representative. That’s largely due to perception. Far too many in the business world fail to appreciate just how vital a role the HR department plays in a company’s growth. Some even seem to think of HR specialists as obsessive micro-managers, as the red tape that stands in the way of progress and innovation.

Nothing could be further than the truth. So the first step to giving HR a seat in the boardroom is to work on changing perceptions. If you can prove your HR team’s true worth, then nobody will be able to argue that they don’t belong on the board.

A Data-Driven HR Function

How does your HR function currently measure success? What metrics do they use to assess whether they’re doing a good job?

With the right technology and techniques, all the following can be measured:

  • Employee retention levels
  • Productivity measures
  • Absence trends
  • Employee satisfaction and wellbeing

In any case, for a data-driven HR department, you’ll need to implement HR technology across your business. This will automate many processes and generate those key insights that will demonstrate your HR department’s success.

Free Up Time for Your HR Department

Another major benefit of HR technology? Through automating many everyday processes, it will free up time for your people team to concentrate on strategy.

Why do HR departments have a reputation for being obsessive administrators? It’s probably because, traditionally, every aspect of their work used to involve long-drawn-out processes and excessive amounts of paperwork.

For example, think of how complicated it can be for an employee to book a holiday. First, they might email HR, to check their holiday allowance. HR might have to consult numerous spreadsheets and make numerous complex calculations just to let an employee know how much allowance they have remaining.

Once the employee has this information, they’ll have to contact their line manager for approval. The line manager may have to liaise with HR again, to ensure that the employee’s proposed holiday won’t cause any issues with staffing levels. In any case, with this sort of system, simply booking a bit of leave can take hours or even days.

Don’t Make Things More Complicated Than They Should Be

But with HR technology, the whole process is a lot more streamlined. With a good absence management system, any employee can securely access an online hub from any device. They’ll immediately see how much leave they have remaining, so that’s one less email they’ll have to send to HR. Then, rather than contacting their line manager to request leave, they can instead choose which days they wish to take off, then click a button to request the time off.

The employee’s line manager will then receive a notification. They’ll see which days the employee wants to take off. They’ll also see a clear and comprehensive staff rota, so at a glance, they’ll know whether the proposed leave will cause any staffing issues. They can, therefore, accept or reject the request immediately, and at the touch of a button. Straight away, the employee will then get a notification, letting them know the outcome of their request.

With this system, a process that might once have taken hours can take just a few minutes. Or even just a few seconds. And this is just one of the many benefits that a good absence management system can bring.

An absence management system can automate many essential HR tasks. As a result, your HR team can instead focus on strategy and growth. They can dedicate the time they used to devote to paperwork to assessing and understanding figures, and the board can draw from their insights to make more informed business decisions.

Ready to Give HR a Seat on the Board?

Of course, you shouldn’t simply invite HR into the boardroom as a symbolic gesture. You should strive to involve them in all the key discussions and decisions affecting your workforce. Listen to and be prepared to act upon the insights they have to bring, and give them the right tools to ensure their insights are based on hard facts and figures.

Your HR team is responsible for your people. And in many ways, your people are your organisation. Give HR a seat in the boardroom, and you’ll be one step closer to ensuring that your people have a voice in all those key business decisions.

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Katrina Bennett People Director at edays
August 14, 2020

Katrina is edays' own People Director with significant UK and international experience in delivering people strategy and value-adding HR solutions across a range of organisations and sectors (including Arriva, Boots, Rolls Royce, the utility and charity sectors). Katrina has over 20 years of experience in Human Resources and is CIPD qualified.