A recent online poll by Right Management of 104 HR Professionals revealed these results to the question: In your organization, is HR given a seat at the executive table?
- 37% – HR regularly influences strategic decisions
- 35% – HR sometimes influences strategic decisions
- 28% – HR doesn’t have a seat at the table
Other research, including studies by SHRM, reports that in order to earn a seat at the executive table HR leaders need to understand how the C-Suite thinks and communicates. To move beyond HR conversations into Business conversations requires asking questions differently and establishing a business case for all HR initiatives.
Linkage, Inc. provides Navigating the C-Suite: An HR Leaders Guide, a brief resource of suggestions and tips for how HR professionals can breakthrough and be effective with senior corporate executives. The tips include:
- Get to Know the CFO: align with the CFO by understanding financial terms, what are the top profit drivers of your organization, how investments are prioritized and measured, and how to you perform against key competitors. The bottom line is that HR professionals need to completely understand how the company makes money to earn the respect and trust of the CFO.
- Get to Know the COO: he/she is focused on systems, strategies, and processes. The COO wants HR to be focused on integrating and optimizing HR initiatives as a part of the broader organizational structure. Reinforcing the corporate culture and brand through talent management programs is also an expectation of the COO.
- Get to Know the CEO: read the CEO’s speeches, annual report letter, quarterly financial reports and other company communication to understand the CEO’s strategies and priorities. Major HR initiatives must be related to these priorities and HR managers and leaders need to be able to clearly articulate recommendations in the language of the C-Suite.
For more detailed suggestions and tips on how HR can better influence the C-Suite, check out Navigating the C-Suite: An HR Leader’s Guide.
The guide also recommends that HR professionals execute a personal development plan to ensure that they are capable of understanding, communicating and establishing trusted relationships with the executive level.
SHRM-Atlanta and UGA have joined forces to bring high-quality executive education specifically designed for HR practitioners who need more business acumen. The HR Leadership Academy is designed for:
- HR professionals who are looking to advance their careers to the C-Suite level
- HR leaders who desire a better understanding of business acumen and strategic thinking
- HR leaders who will be required to drive significant organizational change and innovation
The 2012 program starts in February. For more information and a curriculum overview please click HR Leadership Academy.
This post was provided by guest blogger Charlotte F. Hughes, HCS. Charlotte is an expert talent development professional with extensive experience in leadership and organizational development as an advisor to business leaders and HR in multiple industries. In her role as Learning and Development Consultant with Kimberly-Clark she is responsible for helping human resources and business leaders with performance improvement and learning solutions that drive business goals. You can connect with Charlotte on LinkedIn and read more from Charlotte on her TalentFocus Blog.