The subject of HR’s credibility in business has long been a delicate topic for HR Strategists, Directors and Organisational Developers. HR was historically seen as a transactional arm of the business, with no place in the boardroom due to its perceived lack of business acumen. But this has changed – HR Managers and Directors are utilising the tools of credibility to build their way up to top level decision making in the boardroom.

So how can you improve your HR department’s credibility? As a result of a debate on HR’s role within strategic planning, The HR World members identified successful ways in which HR can increase its credibility and take its rightful place at board level:

  • Rotation

    Career rotation into other departments within an organisation boosts HR’s visibility and credibility. In our previous blog about rotation, we discussed how working across an organisation can develop both an HR career and help HR gain an insight into strategic and market drivers of the company.
  • Being a ‘credible activist’

    Ulrich’s model for being a ‘credible activist’ in any work environment can be applied as a useful model to create a successful HR department. Being a ‘credible activist’ is the most critical skill for HR professionals and brings the most value to their employer – that’s according to the Society of Human Resource Management who have looked into a study which concluded with Ulrich’s opinion that; “[HR professionals] need to be trusted, respected, admired, listened to, but above all, have a point of view and take a position.”
  • Evidence based decision making

    Whilst this may seem like common sense, basing decisions on analytics including market and human performance indicators is sometimes seen as revolutionary for HR. Thinking more like the business, basing strategic planning ideas on facts and figures to justify decision making within HR can improve credibility – presenting the board with evidence based decision making is only bound to go down well.
  • Using Big Data

    Having decided that evidence based decision making from detailed analytics is an effective way of accrediting HR with strategic expertise; it is worth considering the root of this resource – which is in Big Data. The layering and merging of datasets to create a clear pattern and discover a correlation in activity has become an invaluable tool for not only HR departments but in a variety of sectors and purposes. Now that data is being constantly generated via a wide variety of digital technology in and out of the workplace, it’s no wonder Big Data has become a huge trend to use in recent years.

HR can use Big Data to measure the effectiveness of internal and external comms – a motivational email from the CEO to employees with a recorded open and click rate layered with the data that can be drawn from swipe cards at leaving time can tell them if employees were so motivated they stayed longer. Using Big Data in HR can also help predict when people in certain roles may leave the company – data has its uses for forward planning the human element of a company.

A combination of each of these tools will be the key to successful HR breakthroughs in organisations that currently don’t see the value in HR’s insight that it can provide to planning for the future. But there can be no doubt that the greatest emerging resource HR needs to utilise is Big Data. Astounding facts about the power of data such as 90% of all data that exists has been created in the last two years and the same amount of data that existed since the beginning of time to 2003 is now created every 2 years reveal its incredible potential. It’s clear that data is the greatest phenomenon that organisations and HR will see change in their career – so making use of it is key step to becoming more efficient, credible and effective HR strategists.

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