More than just the technological innovations that have enveloped human capital management over the past decade, there has also been a sea of change in how the executive suite views the role of HCM directors and their staff.
This new focus is intended to include HCM in the functioning of the company in a strategic way so that it can contribute to the bottom line as well as provide the necessary infrastructure. In short, in addition to providing the traditional HR functions, HCM is now expected to also be the following:
An Employee Champion
In addition to being a talent manager, HCM must involve itself with the development of a company’s most key asset – its employees. This development or advocacy, if you will, involves creating a work environment that is not only friendly but motivating and fosters long term contributions from a company’s employees.
The “secret” to this process is actually well-known. The managers in HCM must foster a culture of good goal-setting, superior communication and actionable empowerment. These three processes will develop a workforce that is more than competent. Indeed, customer service, internal strategies and bottom line performance will all be augmented.
Finally, HCM must act as an impartial arbiter of disputes whether they involve employee-management issues or employee-employee interactions. Impartiality is key to instilling a sense of fairness in the workplace and will resonate across the entire company.
A Change Advocate
Change is one of the most destabilizing, and in many cases demoralizing, processes that can take place in a company. Employees are generally rooted out of well-worn and time-honored procedures and presented with something new and unfamiliar. While management may see the benefits to these improvements, employees may only see added work. In the new paradigm, it is the responsibility of HCM to resolve this seeming dilemma.
As “change advocates,” the HCM should be in the vanguard for providing the information, policies and practices needed to successfully implement any new program. With the proper tools and procedures, not only can HCM help to successfully implement the new program, but also maximize overall employee “buy-in” and limit employee dissatisfaction from the most senior employees.
Lastly, as the advocate of change, the HCM staff can also act as the gateway for feedback. In this manner, they can assess the overall effectiveness of the program plus identify and help implement any needed changes. In short, HCM can act as the barometer of the entire organization’s activities.
A Strategic Contributor
The bottom line to this whole process in general, and to the point of this article, is that modern HCM needs to move itself into the realm of executive “action.” In other words, in highly successful companies, it is no longer acceptable for HCM to just accept a supporting role. Instead, it needs to fill a strategic place in the executive pantheon just like any other department.
This role will manifest itself in such tasks as the design of work positions, performance development strategies and compensation plans. Not only will this aid in the recruitment and retention of top-notch talent but will also help when they do leave with proper succession planning.
To be truly successful business contributors, HCM must think like business people and not like HR specialists. Their expertise needs to be applied across the entire gamut of a company’s operation to optimize their effect. Only in this way will HCM earn a seat at the executive table.