HR’s Seat at the Table: 3 Tips to Earn and Leverage Your Value

Employers are requiring more of Human Resources than ever before. As more administrative functions are being outsourced and manager self-service processes are implemented, HR professionals must step up and provide a blend of strategic insights and operational discipline. This is new territory for some.

Many HR professionals are finding it’s often tricky to know how and when to gracefully assert themselves. You might be finding that once you’ve got the opportunity to participate in critical meetings, you’re not sure of your role and how to demonstrate your clear value.

Here are 3 tips to help you secure and leverage your seat at the table:

1. Know the organization’s top priorities. Determining where an organization is today and where it needs to go in the future, is critical for HR professionals.  One way to identify the top-priorities is to attend and pay attention in business meetings. I have seen far too many HR professionals skip strategic business meetings, thinking that they didn’t directly affect their work. Well, with that attitude, it won’t!

I say, attend, listen, take notes. Pay attention to topics that keep coming up but aren’t resolved. Watch to see who influences the discussions and decisions. What happens when an opposing view is raised? Every meeting will give you more information about how the organization operates and what is needed to achieve success overall.

2. Check your baggage to communicate with confidence. Being aware of and proactively addressing your fears before an important interaction can put you more at ease. Do you get nervous around people in positions of authority? Increase your confidence and minimize insecurities by seeing key organizational leaders as simply human, complete with fears and shortcomings of their own. This simple reframing helps you to exude a more confident demeanor.

3. Use a systems mindset to facilitate change. There are many elements that drive employees to perform. Policies, technology, cultural norms, competencies and incentives are all at play. If you are involved in an initiative to create a policy, consider the behavior change that the policy is really intended to drive. What is it exactly that you want employees to start or stop doing? If following the process outlined in the policy is a hassle or confusing and others seem to break policies without consequence, simply creating the policy won’t be sufficient to change the behavior. Work with your colleagues to determine what additional strategies may be necessary, such as coaching, simplifying the process, or providing incentives for compliance.

For more insights, practical tools and 9 business/strategic HRCI credits, register for Seat at the Table, a 6-week webinar series, starting September 23rd.