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7 min to readTuesday, January 30, 2024

5 Steps to Making HR More Strategic, Part II: Measuring Success and Taking Action

Written by: Jeff YoderReviewed by: Tanya Jansen

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Organizations that are using HR strategically have an opportunity to gain a competitive advantage by leveraging their human capital to its fullest. The last five years have seen dramatic changes in the workplace and workforce, and organizations must adapt if they want to continue to attract and retain the talent they need and deliver top results. HR is the key player best positioned to help companies survive and thrive in times of change, as success always depends on people.

In this two-part blog series, we look at how today’s CHRO can take on a critical leadership role to help shape corporate culture and drive performance.

In Part I, you learned the first three steps, which lay the foundation for establishing the strategic value of HR by streamlining processes, identifying strategic levers, and fostering a people-centric focus. The next critical steps in making HR more strategic, defined here in Part II, involve the systematic measurement of success and employing actionable strategies.

Step 4: Measuring success with key metrics

Key metrics serve as a guide for HR leaders in assessing the impact of their initiatives and ensuring alignment with broader organizational objectives. Tracking key success metrics can empower HR to make data-driven decisions and demonstrate its strategic impact. Sometimes called KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) or OKRs (Objectives and Key Results), some of the key HR performance indicators include:

1. Productivity metrics

Implementing productivity metrics allows HR to gauge the efficiency and effectiveness of various processes. Whether it's time-to-fill for open positions, project completion times, or overall workflow efficiency, calculating these metrics can offer insights into how well HR initiatives are contributing to the organization's productivity.

2. Hiring success

For HR, success in talent acquisition is a cornerstone of its operational impact. Recruitment metrics such as the quality of hires, average time-to-hire, retention rates, and progress on diversity goals provide a comprehensive view of HR's effectiveness in attracting, selecting, and retaining top talent aligned with the company's objectives.

3. Turnover stats

Employee turnover rate is a key indicator of organizational health. HR can assess turnover rates and identify trends to address potential issues. Beyond the numbers themselves, understanding why employees leave and implementing retention strategies helps build a stable and high-performing workforce.

4. Skills attainment

In the ever-evolving landscape of skills, HR plays a crucial role in ensuring employees acquire and develop relevant skills. Metrics that track skills attainment through training programs, certifications, and professional development initiatives reflect HR's impact on workforce capabilities.

5. Compensation effectiveness

Measuring the relationship between total pay and performance is key to understanding compensation effectiveness and optimizing compensation costs. Such analytics can help with setting competitive yet effective pay structures, making data-driven pay decisions, and knowing where to invest resources to minimize cost and get the best results.

6. Pay equity analysis

As job seekers and governments increasingly demand transparency around pay equity statistics, companies need to have the tools to analyze and remedy pay gaps based on gender or other factors. Showing progress in fair pay across a period of time is important for regulatory compliance and is also good for your employer brand.

7. Employee satisfaction and engagement measures

Regular employee satisfaction and engagement surveys are invaluable tools for HR. Metrics derived from these surveys provide a quantitative measure of employee morale, happiness, and engagement. Positive scores indicate HR's success in fostering a work environment conducive to high performance. The key here is first to understand the employee experience to determine what to measure.

Using HR data to assess, optimize, and improve

Measuring success through these key metrics empowers HR to make data-driven decisions and demonstrate its real-world impact. By regularly assessing these indicators, HR leaders gain insights into what's working well, areas for improvement, and opportunities for innovation.

Successful HR leaders leverage this data not only to optimize existing processes but also to inform future initiatives. For instance, if productivity metrics reveal bottlenecks in certain workflows, HR can tailor interventions to enhance efficiency. If skills attainment metrics highlight gaps in workforce capabilities, targeted training programs can be implemented.

In essence, Step 4 underscores the importance of aligning HR initiatives with quantifiable outcomes. By establishing and monitoring key metrics, HR not only gauges its strategic impact but also fine-tunes its approach to continuously contribute to the organization's success.

Step 5: Actionable strategies for HR transformation

As CHROs lead HR on the journey to strategic transformation, Step 5 focuses on translating insights and initiatives into actionable strategies that align seamlessly with the overarching goals of the business. This step encompasses a range of targeted approaches, each designed to elevate HR from a supporting role to a driving force behind organizational success.

1. Drive goals aligned with company strategy

Strategic HR is intrinsically tied to the overall business strategy. HR leaders must actively collaborate with other departments to understand and align HR goals with the broader organizational objectives. By driving HR initiatives that directly contribute to the company's overall vision, HR becomes an integral partner in achieving long-term success.

2. Foster high-performing teams through continuous feedback and improvement

Building on the people-centric focus established in earlier steps, HR can further foster high-performing teams by championing a culture of continuous feedback and improvement. Encourage managers to provide regular, constructive feedback and create platforms for employees to contribute their insights. Implement training programs that equip leaders with the skills to inspire continuous improvement within their teams. Leverage performance management technology to increase engagement and support employees and managers in reaching their potential and producing results.

3. Attract and retain talent through fair and personalized compensation

Competitive compensation remains a cornerstone of talent attraction and retention. HR can strategically design compensation packages that not only reflect market standards but also consider individual contributions and achievements. Personalized compensation strategies, including recognition programs and performance-based bonuses, enhance employee satisfaction and loyalty.

4. Provide transparency around job architecture and pay ranges

Transparency builds trust, and in HR, this transparency is crucial when it comes to job architecture pay ranges, and pay equity. HR leaders should communicate clearly about job roles, career paths, and associated pay structures. This transparency not only fosters a sense of fairness among employees but also aligns with HR's commitment to openness and honesty.

5. Align behaviors with values

For HR to be truly strategic, it must align employee behaviors with the organization's core values. This involves not only communicating values but also embedding them in everyday practices. HR can implement initiatives, such as recognition programs and performance evaluations, that highlight and reward behaviors in line with organizational values.

6. Build a strong employee culture

Cultivating a strong employee culture goes beyond a set of policies—it's about creating an environment where employees feel connected, motivated, and proud of their workplace. HR can spearhead initiatives like team-building activities, diversity and inclusion programs, and employee wellness initiatives to strengthen the organizational culture.

7. Build a strong employer brand

In the competitive talent landscape, a strong employer brand is a key asset. HR can actively shape the employer brand by highlighting the organization's values, showcasing employee success stories, and creating a compelling narrative that resonates with top talent. This not only attracts potential candidates but also reinforces the company's standing in the market.

Step 5 is the culmination of HR's transformational journey—taking a proactive stance where insights, initiatives, and measured successes are translated into action. By aligning goals and behaviors with organizational objectives and values, while fostering high-performing teams, HR emerges as not only a support function but as a driving force, steering the company toward sustained success.

HR’s journey of transformation

As the role of the CHRO evolves, and HR grows from a traditional administrative function into a strategic powerhouse, the five steps outlined in these two blogs provide a roadmap for HR transformation. By embracing technology, streamlining processes, identifying strategic levers, fostering a people-centric focus, and measuring success through people analytics and key metrics, HR can redefine its role as a crucial partner in business success.

A new mindset for HR

This journey is not merely about adopting new technologies or implementing novel initiatives—it is a paradigm shift in the way HR perceives and positions itself within the company. As we conclude this exploration into making HR more strategic, it becomes evident that the true power lies in the synergy of these steps, each reinforcing the other to create a holistic approach.

The strategic integration of technology serves as the catalyst and enabler, freeing HR from administrative burdens and paving the way for higher-level endeavors. Streamlining processes not only enhances efficiency but also liberates HR professionals to focus on initiatives that drive organizational impact.

Measuring success through key metrics adds a layer of objectivity, ensuring that HR initiatives align with the company's overall goals. From productivity metrics to employee satisfaction surveys, these measurements provide valuable insights that guide HR in refining strategies and continuously improving its impact.

In the final step, HR transitions from measurement to action. By driving goals aligned with company strategy, fostering continuous improvement, attracting and retaining talent through personalized compensation, ensuring transparency in job architecture, aligning behaviors with values, building a strong employee culture, and shaping a robust employer brand, HR solidifies its position as a strategic force within the organization.

This journey is a dynamic and ongoing process. It requires adaptability, innovation, and a commitment to continuous improvement. As senior HR executives embark on this transformative path, they not only elevate the role of HR within the business but contribute fundamentally to the company's resilience and success. The evolution from administrative tasks to strategic leadership is not just a professional milestone for HR; it's a strategic imperative for the entire organization.

To see how the right HR technology can support HR’s strategic role, contact beqom and learn about our performance-boosting solutions.