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It’s time for HR practitioners to become HCM strategists

Posted by: ADP on 23 September 2015 in Human Capital Management

This post is the first in a two-part series that looks at the evolving role of HR practitioners in large businesses and the shift in workforce management to meet increasingly complex regulatory compliance.

A major shift is underway in the role of HR/payroll practitioners, especially at companies I’ve been speaking with that have 1,000 employees and more.  Long gone are the days of purely administrative HR tasks, such as creating and consolidating reports, managing the performance review process, handling day-to-day inquiries, and recruiting and onboarding new hires.

As the consumerisation of technology brings mobile HR apps to employees, many HR/payroll practitioners no longer are end users of HR systems.  Instead, they now are facilitating the use of Human Capital Management (HCM) systems by thousands of employees across their companies.  As they address employee demand for access to core business and HR systems, HR practitioners increasingly are pushing out tools for employees to use to personally handle a variety of HR tasks – at a time and place convenient for each employee – to enable the HR professionals to provide more strategic value to senior executives.

Of course, HR professionals for years have been asked to be more strategic…that is nothing new.  But giving up the tactical stuff is tougher than ever – workforces are spread over continents, with vast differences in compliance requirements.  And making the pivot to being more strategic has grown more complicated as well, as CEOs and CFOs look for HR insights on things such as analytics, operational efficiencies, workforce metrics, and even demand forecasting, to state just a few.

As every HR professional knows, it’s very hard to develop new areas of strategic expertise and deliver new insights to the C-suite when you’re still trying to figure out how to process payroll on the other side of the world, stay compliant everywhere you do business, recruit four generations of employees to deliver maximum value, and deliver a brand-positive employee experience!

So a key trend I’m hearing in discussions with many of our clients is the critical need for organisations to build new strategic capabilities.  These capabilities will enable them to better manage their human capital — even in the midst of the relentless requirement to navigate the maze of existing HR tasks facing successful enterprises, especially ones growing globally.

Going forward, perhaps we should advocate for a title change as HR becomes an increasingly strategic function – an ad-hoc combination of Chief Culture Officer, Chief Talent Architect, and Chief Productivity Officer mashed into a new role I call “HCM Strategist.”  These HCM Strategists may not be measured by a specific profit-and-loss statement, but they will have the tools they need to offer deep HCM expertise and data-driven insights to help inform, counsel and guide senior leadership and other key decision-makers.

HCM Strategists will be comfortable using business analytics to answer a broad range of questions from the executive leadership team.  They will use HCM tools to present hiring-cost comparisons across multiple geographies.  And they will have the information they need to illustrate differences in revenue generated by full-time employees (FTEs) in specific countries or regions, influencing strategic decisions made at the very top of the companies they serve.

As the role of HR continues to evolve, people in that function are becoming critical change agents helping to drive business performance.  By providing specialised training and HCM best practices, my colleagues at ADP are supporting our clients as they navigate this shift.  In doing so, we also are helping the new HCM Strategists reshape their roles and create the next chapter in their careers as leaders who contribute directly to strategic business success.

There’s still a long way to go…but the path seems clear.

What challenges are you facing as your role evolves and how will you address them?  Share your insights below.

Read the original blog post here.

Mark Benjamin

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