Career & Jobs

CEOs, Here Are 3 Ways You Can Better Advocate For Your HR Department

It’s only as of recently that human resources has won the fight in gaining a seat at the leadership table. Yet, just because HR has a seat doesn’t mean their seat or position is taken seriously. In fact, a recent survey revealed, more than one fifth of HR professionals do not feel that their role is valued in their organization.

A main reason is that HR is not seen as a profit-earning department, therefore, they’re seen as inferior to other departments such as sales. However, the talent HR brings in and the initiatives they implement can lead to increased profit, productivity and performance. Yet, the onus has always been on HR to prove its worth in the company. This mentality that HR needs to prove its worth is radically outdated. If in 2021, CEOs still can’t see the value of HR and how it contributes to the employee experience and betterment of the company, there’s a larger problem to be addressed.

Respect for HR starts at the top and the onus is on the CEO to make HR feel like their seat at the table is valued. When the CEO oversteps, neglects and doesn’t respect the position of HR, they’re actively showing the rest of the company that HR isn’t a valued member of the team. As a result, it degrades the company’s view of HR and results in a lack of trust in their role. Alex Sampson, licensed Health Insurance Broker for Health Benefits Associates, said, “the CEOs who respect their HR managers usually end up with a better relationship with their employees and a stronger, more motivated workforce.”

Here are three ways CEOs can better advocate for their HR leaders to inspire a high performing culture.

Shift Your Mindset To Understand The Value They Bring To The Company

HR is often viewed as an overhead department that takes away from the company’s profits. This mentality detracts from the overall impact that HR makes both internally and externally. Ernst & Young asserts that HR sits at the core of the future of the organization. The reality is, without an HR department, toxic workplaces ensue, cultures disintegrate and the potential for lawsuits increase.

It goes without saying that the people are a company’s greatest asset. When the CEO doesn’t value the role that oversees the happiness, wellness and culture of the workplace, it’s a clear sign that the CEO doesn’t value its people. Furthermore, if the position that’s responsible for cultivating, nurturing and leading employee happiness isn’t valued and supported, naturally employees aren’t going to feel valued or supported either.

See Them As A Partner In Decision Making Rather Than A Barrier

Oftentimes, CEOs will go behind HR’s back to make decisions in which HR is ultimately responsible. When things go wrong, such as excluding HR from a hiring decision resulting in a bad hire, HR is then blamed and used as a scapegoat.

Julie Jensen, founder and principal at Moxie HR Strategies, added, “in my experience, there are far too many CEOs who don’t fully understand the business value HR can bring to a company.” She explained, “their limited experience and personal bias may be that HR’s only purpose is to manage benefits, write and enforce policies, and make sure people get paid, hired and fired. They don’t realize HR can identify and build next generation leaders, architect the company’s structure to enable more innovation and create strategies to recruit and retain diverse talent.”

David Hogan, founder of Confideli, shared his experience of a CEO who often sought information from his leadership team, but then would take his own action based on what he thought was best. Hogan said, “it was clear through the CEO’s comments and actions that he firmly believed in his ability to run the organization how he saw fit, and was only seeking feedback to give the impression of a cohesive leadership team.”

The worst mindset a CEO can have is believing they’re more knowledgeable than HR. This requires shifting their mindset to view HR as a strategic advisor and partner rather than a barrier. The consequences of not doing so result in hiring poor candidates, destroying the company culture, creating a toxic workplace and increasing turnover. This, in turn, damages the reputation of the company.

Advocate For Them And Trust Their Recommendations

HR is the lifeblood on an organization. It’s the feedback hub for employees to voice their concerns, ideas and opinions. From there, HR uses that feedback to make changes and improve the overall workplace experience. Employees can see when a CEO and leadership don’t value its HR department which results in employees not valuing HR either.

Rather than work against HR, CEOs need to actively advocate for them. They can do so by seeking their advice, trusting their recommendations, partnering with them and demonstrating their value to the company as they do with sales and other profit-earning departments.

HR is a powerful part of the company and its overall success. They are the voice of the company and the ambassador for driving the company culture. Furthermore, HR develops, promotes and nurtures a culture that keeps employees engaged, happy, supported, motivated and active ambassadors. However, most of what HR does is behind the scenes. The biggest misunderstanding about HR is that it revolves primarily around hiring. While recruitment is a big part of HR, according to EY, 86% of HR’s time is spent on admin and operational tasks including

  • Ensuring legal compliance
  • Creating a safe space for employees
  • Identifying gaps and training opportunities
  • Keeping employee records secure and up to date
  • Enforcing the core values in every decision made
  • Serving as the “middle (wo)man” between management and employees
  • Actively seeking feedback and making changes to improve the employee experience
  • Represent the company as a brand ambassador by building partnerships
  • Maintaining employee satisfaction, engagement, retention and engagement

Furthermore, HR is a department that operates on the feedback of everyone and works to create and modify strategies to address that feedback while keeping everyone engaged, empowered, safe and happy. Employees are a company’s greatest asset. HR knows that in ordered to keep customers and clients happy, employees need to be well taken care of first. However, leaders and employees look to see how their CEO behaves and interacts with the HR department. Therefore, it’s crucial that CEOs support, partner and advocate for their HR team.

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