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At Paydata, we have consistently outlined the importance of HR having input, if not a full remit, when it comes to board-level discussions. People management touches everything that directly affects the overall health of an organisation, yet many employers still view HR as a cost, as opposed to an investment. Active participation in Board-level discussions is a game-changer in many organisations. Here we outline how HR can make a business case for its seat at the boardroom table.

The strategic role of HR

The executive team is undoubtedly facing the fastest pace of changing challenges posed by workforces in history. Employers are more aware than ever of the impact that employee welfare has on retention and productivity. Flexi-time, freelancing and the promotion of wellbeing are all key ingredients in offering a reward strategy that can reduce employee turnover and engage your people. Hierarchies are increasingly being challenged, diversity and inclusion is a huge consideration for all companies and offering competitive employee experiences are all pressures felt at an organisational level that fall into the responsibility of their HR teams. There is also the symbolism associated with having HR at the table – this ensures that employees feel that they are being listened to at the top level of the organisation, promoting long-term employee buy-in.

Reward designed to boost recruitment and retention

Getting the basics of pay right can then focus employees on the extra rewards they receive at work. This gives the employer the chance to align every employee with the core purpose of the business, activating the brand. Mobilising everyone towards that higher purpose can overcome the differences in the more granular details around what motivates different generations and unites all employees or contractors to work towards the vision and purpose of the organisation. When considering how to inspire and empower people across the organisation, by working hand in hand with other functions, HR can ensure that an organisation is equipped to make informed decisions to maximise the potential of their greatest asset – their people.

The cost of treating HR as a discrete function

According to our Autumn UK Reward Management survey, limited HR budgets remain the key challenge and a top item on the agenda for teams. This was followed by 75 per cent of respondents looking to define voluntary and flexible benefits that suit their culture. Employee engagement is pivotal in the renewed war for talent. The Open University’s Business Barometer highlighted the staggering amount of £6.3 billion being spent on temporary workers, recruitment fees, inflated salaries and training because of the lack of skills in the UK market. This threatens to stagnate productivity and is particularly acute in the construction industry. 79 per cent are considering Total Reward Statements, which offers a ‘quick win’ for HR teams to communicate the value and competiveness of their reward packages across the business.

The future of HR

A holistic strategy is key to achieving the right culture to attract and retain a motivated workforce. This reinforces the risks of working in silo. HR, alongside other key functions such as marketing, should have its place in the effective management of an organisation to ensure that a rounded sense of employee experience can be monitored.  Harvard Business Review recently outlined the way in which sophisticated HR analytics are changing the face of recruitment. Measuring flight risks by identifying employee satisfaction levels internally can lower voluntary levels of turnover. LinkedIn data revealed that the most common reason for employees considering a move externally is career advancement, reinforcing the message that HR is a top influencer of the health of an organisation.

Summary: how to get HR’s agenda on the company’s agenda

  1. Demonstrate the value of HR – reinforce the business cost of recruitment and retention, alongside the estimation that 85 per cent of a company’s assets are its people.
  2. Provide the evidence to make informed company decisions – with the growth in HR analytics, HR can provide decision makers with the right data throughout the organisation.
  3. Reinforce each individual employee’s role in achieving your company’s mission and vision – position HR internally as a critical link between leadership and an engaged and productive workforce.

Future-proof your organisation

People are an organisation’s greatest cost but they are also its most important asset. As Richard Branson says, ‘train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so that they don’t want to.’ The right internal culture is crucial for the delivery of your brand. HR brings order to an essential element of the business that has to navigate dimensions that encompass emotion, ambition and the interaction of people, which can have a critical impact on the company’s culture. Doing so in an openly fair and transparent way is of critical concern to the C-Suite.

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