Eleven Reasons to Bring HR to the Table

I am still trying to understand how the leaders of top management teams fail to realize and leverage the value of HR leaders in strategic discussions. Equally baffling are the numbers of HR leaders who, when called upon to contribute strategic prowess, fail to do so. They don’t share relevant insights, foresight, and hindsight data or contribute other vital information about the organization and surrounding internal and external considerations.

Not only must HR leaders show up as growth-minded business analysts, but they must be supported and allowed to devote the necessary time to doing so. If your HR leaders are spending most of their time putting out fires and not on business strategy development, execution, and monitoring, you need to support their ability to delegate firefighting and hold them accountable to a new focus. This means that the contribution of the human resource function is ongoing, and HR must be prepared to make a meaningful contribution. When HR is unable to do so, even after necessary supports are in place, there could be a lack of conceptual competency (delegation, decision-making, strategic thinking, etc.). Or perhaps a bit of the Peter Principle where there is too much attachment to prior performance, hence the inability to delegate or manage the demands of the more strategic elements of the job. But what if neither is an issue? What if the organization is just struggling to engage and embrace HR in a meaningful strategic way?

Let’s look at a few of the primary aspects of strategy execution. I want you to think about how many and which of these aspects you believe could benefit from the contribution of a strategically minded human resource leader when examining current and future goals:

  1. Do we have the necessary staff with the requisite skills and experience required to achieve our short and long-term goals?
  2. Are we allocating ample resources to the business activities needed to execute our strategy?
  3. In what ways are our policies, procedures, and practices an impediment to the execution of our strategy?
  4. What is our single point of failure? Which members of our talent pool hold significant intel that, if they left, would hinder or cripple our ability to have a speedy recovery?
  5. Do our knowledge, information, and operating systems enable staff to perform essential activities both in-person and remotely for sustainable periods?
  6. What needs to happen to prevent a disruption in our value chain activities?
  7. Have we established sufficient joint performance goals, such that silos are mitigated and team performance is promoted?
  8. Are our rewards and incentives programs directly tied to the achievement of both individual and organizational performance objectives?
  9. How can we be certain that we are living our core values? To what extent are we re-evaluating the alignment between core values and behaviors?
  10. Are our company’s work climate and culture conducive to successful strategy execution?
  11. How are our leaders (all levels) empowered, equipped, and held accountable for the empowerment and equipping of their staff and teams to propel the organization forward?

As you can see, almost all of these questions in some way require HR contribution. So I ask, if you struggle with HR’s contribution, is it due to a lack of know-how or a lack of inclusion on the part of top management, or perhaps both? If you are not getting these answers from your HR professional, why not start asking and see where the string takes you?