Transforming HR to Be Strategic
HR leaders are always looking for new approaches to achieve business goals, be viewed as a strategic part of the business and ensure the organization is recruiting, retaining and rewarding top talent.
Transforming HR into a strategic partner means demonstrating its potential, and it requires accessing tools and resources to help reach that goal. It also means reducing administrative burdens to better focus on strategic issues.
Moving the needle can be a slow process, but by applying a few key principles, you can begin to transform your HR function, build belief within your credit union and strengthen efficiencies.
Credit union HR leaders can get a seat at the strategy table and exert more influence in corporate decisions by building an employee engagement strategy, creating a strong employee infrastructure, harnessing the right technology, communicating with employees and building an employee engagement strategy.
The 2007-2008 Towers Perrin's global workforce study reported companies with the highest levels of employee engagement achieved better financial results and were more successful in retaining their most valued employees than were companies with lower levels of engagement.
Creating employee engagement is not a simple process, but you need to keep it simple for employees. Treat your HR area like a business, and build your own HR marketing plan based on employee feedback. Build a strategy that engages your employees' hearts and minds.
Start by segmenting your employee group as you would your membership. Don't assume all employees are the same. You wouldn't adopt a one-size-fits-all marketing strategy for members, nor should you for your employees. Consider segmenting your employee group into a manageable number of segments (four to five). Establishing too many can be challenging and expensive.
Employee segmentation will help you determine their needs and what motivates them. Armed with that information, you can develop marketing messages and activities targeted at each employee group. You will be speaking to them based on each group's interests and concerns and what motivates them. Once you have determined your segments, gather information to determine what they enjoy and uncover their pain points. Gathering information can be done in multiple ways through surveys, employee meetings and forums and by simply walking around and talking to them one on one.
By building a powerful employee engagement strategy, you will begin to see a chain reaction. A fully engaged employee group will be evident in your customer service and could begin to positively impact your bottom line.
Great talent will almost always put HR in the strategic game. Talent management should be integral to your organization. Do you know where you have gaps in employee talent? Are you using the right recruiting services to sell your business value proposition? It's OK to want to build a strong employee pipeline but be sure your recruiting strategy is about building relationships, too. With a challenging job market, now might be a perfect time to start building your pipeline. Manage a pipeline of third-party partners who can evaluate key markets, help you attract the right people and get them in the door.
Strategic HR organizations also consider employee retention as a key element of their talent management strategy. Retaining the best employees will have a direct effect on your customer satisfaction. Create an environment where employees feel they can share their ideas risk-free, give them resources to grow and develop and give managers opportunities and tools to recognize and reward employees.
Creating efficiencies is often an overwhelming challenge for HR leaders. Technology can be a high-valued enabler to efficient business processes. Yet, it's nearly impossible to integrate all the technology required to operate an efficient HR business. A one-size-fits-all approach won't work. However, you can use new advancements in HR technology that can be integrated to help you better manage day-to-day HR processes and functions.
Implement online and voice communication tools to help your employees connect with members more efficiently. On-line-chat capability is inexpensive and a great way to immediately connect your employees to your virtual servicing unit. Solving questions quickly will develop stronger value with your employees and greater support from your leaders.
Lack of communication to your employees can lead to confusion, rumors, misunderstandings and negative morale. It's frustrating for employees not to understand what is happening within their workplace. HR and senior leaders often think that employees are more aware than they really are.
Over communicate. Build strong communication messages to your employee segments. Be willing to share difficult decisions, give sincere feedback, admit mistakes and always act with integrity.
Market your HR department as an important resource your organization can look to often. Promote what you have done and will do, and educate your employee segments on your new strategy and capabilities. In turn, you will begin to transform HR within your organization. You may be surprised to see how quickly you get a seat at the table.
David Sargent is senior vice president of human resources for
CUNA Mutual Group. He can be reached at 800-356-2644 ext. 7597