What Makes a Successful HR Team?
If you’re an HR Manager, you’re responsible for a long list of functions that are crucial to the success of the business you work for. From recruitment, to employee relations, learning and development, talent planning, compensation and benefits, change management – the list goes on and on. With so many plates to spin, where do you put your focus?
A good place to start is answering the question: what makes a successful HR team?
Ulrich’s take on it
David Ulrich, often referred to as the ‘Father of Modern Human Resources’, defined four distinct areas that HR functions should focus on:
• Strategic player
• Administrative expert
• Employee champion
• Change agent
Further to this, the key principles of Ulrich’s model are:
• Create a unified structure that delivers value
• Define a clear distinction or role for HR
• Create a competitive edge for the company
• Be in a position to measure how a company has performed according to metrics
In the ever-evolving workplace, does adopting this methodology still contribute to the success of a HR team? Ulrich’s model aims to drive efficiency and standardisation which remains as relevant to businesses today as it was in 1995 when the model was created.
Many HR teams continue to use the structure and it’s a good place to start so, in line with Ulrich’s model, we’ve devised four questions for you to reflect upon and answer on your quest for success.
1. Do you add value?
To answer this one, you need to look both inside and outside of your organisation. This means looking at your stakeholders, investors and the local community.
If you can focus on the outcomes that affect the outside world, you can demonstrate your worth in the boardroom.
2. Do you attract and retain the right talent?
Recruitment can be a time consuming process however it’s a great opportunity to bring new talent into your organisation. Are you hiring the best people? And when they’re through the door, do you have a strategy in place to retain them?
3. Do you help build the right culture?
Your company’s culture – if it’s a great one – is one of your biggest assets. Culture develops over time from the collection of traits of the people you hire which is why it’s important you can answer question two! But HR can play a huge role in driving the culture. To do this you must understand your employees’ concerns by collecting feedback and gathering data via engagement surveys for example. You can then coach leaders and implement change initiatives to reduce negative behaviours. This will play a massive part in improving the company culture.
4. Can you measure your success?
If you can measure your success, it will help you in the boardroom when you’re demonstrating the value your HR team adds. It’s important to agree on what success actually looks like. This might be for transactional work e.g. how many people you recruited, how many leavers, reasons for leaving etc.
Unfortunately, it’s not enough to be successful if you can’t capture it and demonstrate it to your leadership team.
One last thing…
What makes a human resource department successful is a tricky question. A question that will depend upon the context of your organisation. So, reflect upon the questions above and remember one more thing…
HR departments shouldn’t be working in a silo, isolated from the rest of the business. Partnering with the business is the key to ensuring the future of your HR team. And it will give you and your team members the opportunity to really shine.