What does the role of HR look like in 2019 – Have you positioned HR to allow strategic contribution to the future success of your organisation?

On a daily basis, the most common conversation I have with prospective senior candidates is about the content of a role profile and how Operational vs Strategic the role is (in reality). From a recruitment perspective, I decided jot down some of my observations about the direction HR is taking, and what I am seeing on the marketplace currently when sourcing for Senior HR Manager/ BP/ Director roles. It has really changed drastically during my time in recruitment.

What is a strategic HR role?

This is where HR has moved away from the tactical, hands on work and no longer working in the day to day. It is a true focus on aligning business objectives to the people strategy, an identification of long-term or overall business aims and interests and the means of achieving them through people. It takes shape in an environment where leadership feel passionately about having people number 1 on the agenda to drive the company to success. Strategic HR work involves expertise in talent management, brand values, attraction and retention capabilities, workforce planning, organisational design and effectiveness.

There is a huge movement away from a tactical and reactive HR towards being strategic, deliberate people teams who take a fully rounded, holistic view of HR that add value at a C-Suite level.

“It is almost impossible to achieve sustainable success without an outstanding CHRO who should be a key sparring partner for a CEO on topics like talent development, team composition and managing culture.” Quote Thomas Ebling, ex CEO Novartis

I enjoy recruiting & identifying people who are developing these skillsets and progressing their career in this strategic direction as it is very much an ever changing, developing and transformative time in HR.

What am I looking for in candidates who will operate at a strategic HR level?
  • Commerciality
  • Leadership qualities
  • Innovation
  • Experience leading complex change, while being outcome driven
  • Ability to use and interpret HR data to influence and facilitate change
Blockers to HR effectively working at a strategic level:

1) It is impossible to be strategic without the right systems and data in place. Many organisations still work with underdeveloped systems, or a multitude of excel spreadsheets. This type of work environment leaves little time for progressive work when there is no ability to get data in real time as a response to performance

2) Culture, and HR representation at leadership level some roles are pitched at a strategic level, but in reality the business doesn’t have real buy in, investment or appetite for real value add HR work

3) HR professionals who provide the day to day HR support, guidance & advice, employee relations, talent acquisition requirements are the backbone of any organisation – if this isn’t solidly in place and working effectively, it is not possible to move to the next level and operate strategically

I regularly meet with clients, to understand their HR value proposition and what they are looking for when recruiting into their HR teams. One thing I love about my job, is having a birds eye view of what is happening in HR, across a huge range of industries. I do know that one size does not fit all, and that all organisations are at a different point in this journey to progressive, value add HR business partnering. I go to market with transparent, honest & informed information, to qualify the best candidates for every role.

The HR Search team are here to support and partner with organisations through this interesting time, and enjoying seeing really positive, progressive change.

Caoilinn