Link HR to business success in 2016

Matthias Ruziwa HR Issues
It’s that time again. Every organisation needs strategic thinkers. Rigid adherence to yesterday prevents adopting new and good things tomorrow. 2015 has slid into another year and organisations have been busy taking stock of all that has passed and look ahead at the paths to their panoramic views. The introspection is critical as every organisation has to achieve established goals and targets in 2016. Businesses today are looking forward to HR leaders who align themselves with the company’s vision, mission and objectives by learning what the strategic plan entails and how HR can support it. As we start this great journey, I shall make an attempt to unpack critical things that in my view HR needs to do to help organisations to attain economic value or improve the shareholder’s wealth in 2016 and beyond.

First and foremost, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the readers of this column and for your valuable feedback. It has been such a great pleasure writing articles for this special publication and audience. Compliments of the New Season to you all.

The main purpose of existence of the HR department in an organisation is to underpin the needs of business through vertical integration and horizontal integration. Accordingly it is vital that HR practitioners be in a position to know what the business wants to accomplish and why? Never wait for the organisation to tell you what HR should do. Make it your business to know how you can strike a balance between the economic value of the organisation and organisational capability. If these two elements are well synthesised there is no doubt your organisation will be poised to attain great results in 2016. HR should strongly network with relevant networks to become experts. This includes networking with the organisation’s business leaders whose input and buy–in to your vision is essential.

Every organisation needs strategic thinkers. In my view, businesses today are looking forward to HR leaders who align themselves with the company’s vision, mission and objectives by learning what the strategic plan entails and how HR can support it. By so doing, the HR team become strategic partners rather than transactional clerks.

Success or failure by the organisation to attain its goals largely depends on HR’s ability to communicate. HR is the organisation’s voice and as such needs to cultivate a shared vision across the entire business organisation. Amongst other tactics available for use, I recommend that you interact with every employee gathering and reporting on the good things your HR team is doing, communicate effectively in meetings, at company or community events and try to regularly sharpen your communication skills with some kind of training to become a good commanding speaker.

HR needs to accept that we are now leaving in a technology age. Technology will certainly make a difference in terms of improving your processes and effectiveness. It is more likely that some segments within the HR community still don’t understand IT related terminology and I strongly recommend that we educate ourselves in this area which is very critical towards value addition to business.

Furthermore, millions of changes are taking place throughout our industries and the profession and HR needs to be curious enough to discover news things. HR therefore needs to set aside time to do research to uncover new trends and best practices being employed by others elsewhere.

When you are up to date with change, you become innovative and creative. Believe me, with the profession’s changes taking place eg changes effected to the Labour Act in 2015, the policies you have used in the past needs updating. Most organisations are always comfortable in the old ways of doing things when there is a better way and who better to suggest those things than HR? Be in charge and influence change. Many researchers commonly agree that “rigid adherence to yesterday prevents adopting new and good things tomorrow”.

Most importantly, I will remind you that yes of course we may identify and plan for change in the way business was done in yesteryears, but great ideas do take time and effort to implement them hence you need to at least learn the basics of project management to effectively lead change programs in your organisation from planning to implementation and evaluation.

Organisations in Zimbabwe are passing through tough economic times. HR programs obviously costs money and because of competing budgets from various departments in the company, HR needs to fight for its needs. It is more likely that some HR practitioners fail to succeed because they fear their proposals are always turned down by the business leaders. No, what you need to do as HR is to present analysis that have bearing on the bottom line of the organisation.

Whenever you are arguing your issues, make it a point that you have in-depth understanding of analysis that point to Return On Investment (ROI) or improvement of the shareholder`s wealth.

To achieve set targets, HR needs to effectively collaborate with each department in the organisation for idea engineering. This enables acceptance and implementation of ideas in the company. I suggest that you spend some time in every department building teams and embarking on training programs that will impact on the needs of business. Please avoid curve-linear programmes. It is best that you devolve the training responsibility to line managers and ensure that evaluation is done at set time frames.

Most HR practitioners are not connected to their most important networks, ie employees and management. Yes we do have Workers Committee and Works Council structures in place for communication purposes, but I want to recommend that you be out of your office more than you are in it. You must understand and know your employees better and by making frequent visits to their workplaces, they will become familiar with you and more open to asking questions through their leaders and you will also become familiar with the context of the issues you must deal with. The employees and line managers will then see you as part of the team rather than someone who just preaches about policies and procedures. This is very important to increase your circle of influence in the organisation.

Lastly, the mystery behind successful HR practitioners is that they do take their time to reveal to others what the HR job is all about including its benefits to the organisation. Managers and employees in most cases view the HR department from uninformed perspectives. Some think you are just there to formulate rules and regulations which are not favourable to them, others view you as somehow totally disconnected from the needs of the employees and the organisation. For real, you don`t have an easy job as you do stand in between a rock and a hard place especially when the economic terrain is not smooth like we are experiencing at the moment, but the more you influence business and employees to understand how and why HR is needed in the organisation and the sort of value HR can unleash, is the more you will become a game changer for your organisation`s success stories in 2016 and beyond. I wish you all the best.

Disclaimer: Opinions expressed herein are solely those of the author

Matthias Ruziwa is an experienced and progressing Strategic Human Resource Practitioner based in the Midlands Province city of Kwekwe. You can contact Matthias at the following email address:[email protected] /whatsapp 0773 470 368

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