Give HR A Seat At The Management Table

OPINION

Give HR A Seat At The Management Table

Country Head of Robert Walters Malaysia Kimberlyn Lu feels that it is essential for HR to shift from an operational to management role to allow a more efficient match of talent and company's ambitions and strategies.

The role of HR in an organisation is more than just hiring, firing and handling grievances. It is instrumental in ensuring positive business outcomes through the attraction and placement of the right talents for each role. In most cases, HR is generally parked under an operational role, as a facilitator to the strategies formed by the management.

It is essential to give HR a seat at the management table and a say from the initial planning stages so that strategies can take a more viable form and be envisioned to the point of delivery. This will fasten processes with sound advisory on the talent availability and need for future planning, delivered from a project's ideation stage.

It is essential to give HR a seat at the management table and a say from the initial planning stages so that strategies can take a more viable form and be envisioned to the point of delivery

Employers spend a great deal of time and energy on the mechanics of hiring, often ignoring a crucial factor which is suitability of candidates hired for the long run. This is especially true when it comes to middle and higher management hiring. It is a delicate process due to candidates marketability and when changing jobs is more of an option than a necessity .

As recruitment experts, we have observed several key areas where we believe change is required, both in mindset and action.

Data is a treasure chest

Most companies sit on a gold mine of data that can help them improve processes. The key to finding useful information starts with identifying what needs improvement or upgrades. HR departments need to make data analysis a regular habit so that their company’s hiring policies, benefits, evaluations and salary rates can remain competitive in the hiring market.

While there are numerous softwares that can make the job of breaking down and analysing the data much easier, it is still key for HR personnel to take an active role in identifying what kind of information they want to extract. These data must be the base for short, middle and long term manpower planning so that historical problems don’t recur and current practices and needs can take the lead as opposed to traditional hiring requirements.

Getting Serious about Corporate Culture

Based on a study published in the International Journal of Scientific Research & Management, it has been identified that the culture of an organisation to a large extent determines the performance of the individuals that work in it.

Over the years, based on the interactions we have had globally with our clients, we advise HR departments to advocate the corporate culture effectively and intermittently to ensure existing talents build a stronger bond with the company and to attract the right kind of candidates that identify with the company’s cultural traits.

Smart employers know that in order to entice and retain top talents, they not only need to have competitive pay and benefits, but also need to create an environment where people actually enjoy coming to work. HR leaders should also promote their corporate culture and values using sound marketing tactics to build a solid employer brand in the market.

HR Policies for Today

HR policy is not a deal breaker but company policies is what employees will rely on because just like anyone they want to know by joining this company how will it benefit them in many ways. Malaysia’s Department of Statistics shows that 54.6 percent of a 15 million labor force in Malaysia are women. These women are between the ages of 25-54 years. Companies need to look at policies that address the challenges that working women in this age bracket face including child care benefits, flexible working hours and more.

Companies should encourage more flexibility which involves trust between the employer and employee

The employee handbook should be a constant reminder of what is available with a code of ethics ingrained within it so that employees will feel a stronger buy to the company they work in. Simple methodologies such as coffee chats with new employees, quarterly email blasts and weaving in policies as a reflection during review sessions will help build a loyal following to the existing corporate culture.

Companies should encourage more flexibility which involves trust between the employer and employee. Leading corporations worldwide have invested in technology, global mobility, seamless & borderless diversity. For example, fostering a culture of diversity and inclusion in all hiring practices is another goal that companies should be fully developed in order to retain valuable employees. Diversity also goes beyond gender, race, age or religion. Dimensions such as educational, socio-economic background and family status are also important.

Keep Interviews Engaging

Job seekers evaluate the company through interview process which must make sense and be consistent. Talents in the middle or higher management level know their skills set and worth, so it is highly advisable to keep interview processes efficient and relevant. There are companies known to conduct three to seven layers of interviews with repetitive questions and long drawn decision making processes and negotiations.

Companies should consider making fast decisions because there are only 36 percent that are actively looking for new opportunities, while the remaining 64 percent job seekers are only interested in knowing about the job market according to the Future of Jobs Report by the World Economic Forum.

As illustrated, HR has gone beyond a business function to a strategic tool to achieve desired business outcomes for a company as a whole. It delivers the valuable talent and recommendations that is required to meet the changing landscape of how businesses work.  This is why rather than thinking HR is only for execution, organisations should take them as a part of the moulding system.

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