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We’ve all heard the “do more with less” message but does it actually work for the HR function? Usually not if you’re making tactical changes, and usually yes if you’re making the right sort of strategic changes – but this requires business acumen and an investment in technology for longer term gain.  And frankly, not everyone has that sort of insight.

Let me give you an example. Organisations with HR integrated into the business have nearly forty per cent lower turnover, 38 per cent higher employee engagement and more than twice the revenue per employee compared with compliance-driven HR organisations. The payback resulting from improving HR effectiveness at the strategic level far outweighs the average investment in an HR solution suite.

In contrast, simply removing resources (polite phrase for making people redundant) looks good on a financial balance sheet, but almost always puts your turnover, employee engagement and productivity into nose dive after a few months. It’s a false economy and it’s simply not worth being that short sighted. Most senior managers instinctively know this, but they don’t always know what strategic action or investment to make for longer term gain.

Now imagine if your HR department was relieved of its time consuming tactical responsibilities but still able to assure their effective execution. How much more value could you bring to the business then?

I’ve long believed that HR should be equipped to look at talent the same way that a financial planner would look at an investment portfolio.  The ability to model ‘what if’ scenarios around potential future risks and how the organisation would handle them means having insight into the right employees in the right jobs with the right capabilities. How else are you going to effectively move your company from its past to its future business model?

Technology is a key part of outstanding execution in HR services. Companies can do more work in less time at a lower cost, giving HR the time and tools to focus on strategy. By automating manual tasks, the cost per transaction for HR services decreases as cycle times get shorter.

I’m not suggesting that change isn’t difficult. It is. Whether you’re building for growth or for sustainability, you are still building for the future. That’s why it’s important to minimise risk by developing talent with reliable, repeatable performance, leveraging logic-driven analytics, and focusing the business on the right things.

Your ultimate legacy as an HR leader will be determined by how well you are able to develop the next generation of talent for your organisation. That means outlining the vision, strategic guidance and critical technology investments required to get you there.

Interested in learning more about the workforce of the future? Sign up for the 20 Minute Master Class series - a series of free, concise webinars with HR thought leaders.

Eric Brunelle