Why should you sit at my table?


“Why should I give HR a seat at the table?” My first (and favorite) answer was, “Because I said so,” but I thought that might not go over well.

So, after holding back, I gave it some thought and here is my better, more appropriate answer that every HR professional should read and agree to. If you don’t have these skills, please reach out to me and let’s talk.

As an HR person, our first thought will be on the employees. Now you may be working with a great leader who is also thinking about the employees but the lens is different. Our lens is looking at the impact of any business decision on our employees. For example, as I work with leaders on a reorganization, I am thinking about the down stream impact. Here are ten questions I ask before any re-organization.

We understand the business objectives. Not every HR practitioner can say this and that’s a shame, but we should. Our role is to support the business to achieve their goals. Understanding these goals means we can help with workforce planning and organizational design. We know the people on these teams and their strengths and weaknesses. We have facilitated talent review calibrations so we have a high level of understanding of the teams. We can share those insights with the leadership team.

We are good at puzzles. We can take information from different team members and leaders and help to fill in the blanks and put together the pieces. We can provide insights that the senior leaders might not get from their people. Team members are more open to giving us their thoughts and feedback because it is safe. No one wants to tell their boss that they have a horrible idea. Telling HR makes it safe because we can figure out how to package it up for the leader the right way.

We get sh*t done. We can execute on things quickly and drive the business goals forward. We will push for what is right for the team and the organization. The administrative piece of our jobs may annoy us, so we get them done so we can move on to more important work. This helps everyone.

We know what is going on at other organizations in our industry. We use benchmark data to make recommendations on how to make our teams better. This one is key. We have to know what we are talking about. If you are an HR person who does not know industry trends, you have a major blind spot. Get to know people in HR in the same industries. Get to know the leading software in your space. Go to HR industry events. If you don’t have these events in your area or you can’t get funding to attend, start your own. I have a colleague that needed more information on HR Operations. She figured out who else was doing this in Phoenix and started a monthly meeting so they could connect and share best practices.

We use data to make business recommendations. If we see trends in attrition stats, we suggest engagement and retention strategies. We track high performers in the organization and can suggest future stretch assignments. We have visibility across the enterprise team so we are able to see potential issues down the road. We are connectors and can help get the right people in the right meetings to drive results.  We need more data as HR practitioners, and that is getting better- but we need to use data to drive the business forward.

I am sure there are a dozen more things I should list but I will end with one of the most important reasons we should be at the leader’s table. We are fun and committed to helping. We want an amazing workplace and we want to partner with the leader to do that.

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