HR team’s evolution as a key strategic business priority


“Acquiring the right talent is the most important key to growth. Hiring is the most important thing we do.” – Marc Benioff, CEO, Salesforce. 


Hiring and cultivating the right people is at heart of growth, profit and overall business outcomes. It’s no wonder then HR is finally gaining the trust, acknowledgement and recognition it deserves – taking its well-earned place at the business strategy table (especially after navigating the tough market challenges of 2020). 

In this article, we explore HR’s increased levels of influence in the executive team and their success in gaining investment in long-term, proactive strategies. 


Leadership and increased levels of influence in executive team 

In 2020, you and your team were put to the test. Many in the TA community lost their jobs, and many changed jobs. Others in the HR space were required to implement groundbreaking initiatives, work in unfamiliar spaces, adapt and move quickly without knowing what was coming next. 

According to ELMO’s second annual HR Industry Benchmark Survey, organisations prioritised remote work, flexibility, employee wellness and health, and compliance to get through 2020. These key initiatives allowed organisations to adapt and established HR’s position in leadership. 

Chief HR Officer for ELMO Monica Watt expanded on this in ELMO’s recent Insights Exchange Webinar: “HR teams stepped up to the challenge and this pushed us to the forefront. Now, we’re in the hot seat. We’re making decisions and upskilling for the future to support business growth.” 

Watt explained how HR has oversight of competitors, peers and business objectives. This places HR teams in the perfect position to leverage this knowledge to drive and deliver organisational success.  

Just as you broke new ground, it was new ground for your organisation as a whole. You and your team gave executive leadership the ability to navigate these changes safely and successfully. 

Now, positive sentiment continues to grow. Like many organisations, you may have goals to increase your head count. Recruitment advertisements are increasing. For the first time since the pandemic began, every state and territory has seen year-on-year job ad growth

With this, comes an increased responsibility to determine and execute critical long-term people strategies.

Leadership teams understand the impact of poor execution on the bottom line. Like other core business functions, HR is responsible for bridging the gap between strategy and execution. Here’s how you can achieve this.   


3 strategies HR teams can bring to the table 


1. Create proactive talent initiatives

Proactive talent strategies involve everything from internal talent engagement initiatives (flexibility, upskilling, health and wellness, ED&I) to talent attraction initiatives (recruitment and content marketing, employer branding, talent pooling, referral programs and more).


2. Leverage technology 

In addition to designing these strategies, you need to bring them to life and measure success by leveraging technology. You’re likely building your ideal tech stack, investing in the right software and tools (from Applicant Tracking Systems to best-of-breed video interviewing software) to proactively transform your candidate experience.


Read more: The best HR tech stack needs these three elements 


3. Set objectives and measure key metrics  

The success of your initiatives often hinges on metrics to demonstrate their effectiveness and gain further investment. Just as marketing, sales and specialist roles are measured on KPIs, so too is HR. Demonstrate the success of your initiatives and optimise resourcing by reporting on key metrics. 

Read more: 3 new recruitment metrics to track in 2021 and beyond

Attracting and retaining top talent, filling critical skills gaps and nurturing the next generation of leaders are primary issues for C-Suite leaders. HR teams meet this urgent need. Lean in to your well-earned place at the business strategy table. Reinvent your roles by specialising, scaling, optimising resources, and executing long-term strategies. Continue leveraging technology and building on those great strides from 2020. 

As Watt stated: “Don’t fall back on old habits; we’re in the front seat with the ability to drive and deliver commercial success for our businesses. Don’t stop. Don’t take your foot off the pedal.”