Power to the People | How HR leaders can evolve into business transformers

How HR leaders can evolve into business transformers
How HR leaders can evolve into business transformers

It’s rare to work in an organisation with transformational leaders who enact successful and lasting change. It’s even rarer for transformation to come from traditionally “back-office“ functions - HR & payroll.

Imagine being that transformation as an HR leader. Here, we’ll show you some of the ways to make it happen.

The very nature of the HR department has changed

Gone are the days of HR being a so-called “back-office“ operation. As an integral part of any well-functioning modern business, the People team has evolved into a far more strategic group that is central to the organisation achieving its core aims. Ensuring that the best talent is recruited and retained is a key part of that - as well as ensuring they are paid and can book annual leave. But today’s HR teams are about so much more - empowering people, building connections with other departments, using data to make strategic decisions, and deepening the overall employee experience.

It simply has to be this way. This is because in the midst of the ongoing war for talent, with companies facing huge challenges to effectively recruit and retain, creating a purposeful culture that values people and their needs is the difference between a business succeeding, and failing.

Let’s go into some of the ways that HR leaders can do just that, and help to transform their organisations in the process.

Creating a culture of connections

When talking about ushering in the ‘organisation of the future’ back in 2020, Mckinsey referenced the importance of removing hierarchies, creating flattened team structures and building networks of teams. Their research found that the companies best set up to succeed:

  • have a clear value & purpose - they know what they are and what they stand for;

  • operate with a fixation on speed and simplicity;

  • grow by scaling up their ability to learn and innovate.

One could argue without too much issue that HR plays a key role in all three.

Ensuring that an organisation is living its purpose and values is a core KPI for HR leaders, and this relates directly to said organisation knowing what it is, and what it stands for. Similarly, a business cannot operate with speed and simplicity unless the right people are in place at the right time, and achieving this goal comes from a robust and well executed recruitment strategy. Indeed, a successful business must retain its best talent in order to ensure continuity and consistency. And when we talk about learning and innovating, it is HR teams who are integral to the successful rollout of any people development programs that help facilitate them.

So what about the connection angle, you might be asking.

Again, just like the HR team, it’s something that runs through all three bullet points above. So let’s revisit them.

Value & Purpose

Creating a shared company vision, so that everybody’s actions are guided by what it is and what it stands for, is nigh on impossible unless you get buy-in from all your staff. This is much easier to achieve when you have a connected workforce.

By creating a shared space where staff can connect, collaborate and spend time with one another, you open up the channels of communication and ensure that the values and purposes by which you want your company to live can flow unhindered.

Creating connections makes it easier for HR leaders to articulate and role-model desired individual and team mindsets and behaviours. It’s all about identifying those “moments that matter“ throughout the company journey and telling a story of how they translate into its culture and purpose. Telling that story will be so much easier when you have a connected and engaged forum of all your individuals and teams.

Organising culture days centred on shared values and purposes is a great way of doing this, to get people talking to one another about what the company means to them. It’s something that we at PayFit rolled out recently, to great effect.

Speed & Simplicity

You can’t travel long distances quickly and efficiently without good connections. The same can be said for organisational transformation. Big projects - transformative ones - require the input of multiple facets of an organisation. In our often time-poor company culture, the initiatives that are successfully completed are the ones that are able to move to and fro to their conclusion with speed and simplicity.

In order to ensure this is the case, it’s imperative that the teams working together are as connected as can be. Great HR software, or HRIS, is one way to foster increased connectivity, but we’ll come onto that a little later.

To facilitate connected teams, HR must recruit, retain and develop talent in a strategic way, ensuring that the right people are in place at the right time, with the right skills, to create the environment necessary for those connections to form, and to help projects move along as fast and as simply as possible.

It comes back to the value and purpose element. That is to say, ensuring that talent is recruited for cultural as well as skills fit, and that existing staff are bought into the mission sufficiently enough to reduce the risk of them leaving mid-project, and thus threatening its success.

Learn & Innovate

This is where HR gets really connected. HR puts in place the learning programs which help its people innovate; HR hires the people it thinks can innovate; and HR hires the people who can train and develop its staff in such a way as they become innovative.

Innovation breeds transformation.

We don’t really need to elaborate on that any further!

Deepening the employee experience

Change, as they say, starts at home. And a house is not a home without people inside it. So, creating the best possible working experience for your people should be high on your list of transformation priorities. A better employee experience means a better bottom line, and when HR helps to facilitate a positive experience for its staff, the company in question is on average 1.3 times more likely to report organisational outperformance.

It’s all related to the culture of connections that we’ve spoken about previously, and in particular achieving buy-in for your common values and purposes. A successful HR team is one that works together with its staff to create personalised, authentic and motivating experiences that relate to those values, to your company purpose. The positive outcome not only strengthens individuals, but their teams, as well as the wider business.

Smart software to help you do it all more effectively

Pivotal to pretty much everything we’ve talked about is building a robust, interconnected HR tech stack that will empower both you and your employees. The talent of today expects their places of work to be equipped with first-class tech that helps them do their jobs efficiently and effectively.

As an HR leader looking to drive positive organisational change, you should demand a tech stack that allows its various components - performance management, annual leave, payroll, employee engagement - to talk to one another, seamlessly. After all, you need to be able to work on your initiatives in one place, without having to spend time going back and forth across different platforms, re-formatting reports or having to enter employee information more than once. Because surely this will get you bogged down in the small stuff, when you could be looking at the bigger picture?

And let’s not forget the importance of having lightning fast access to insightful, actionable data, that can help you assess HR trends and patterns - for example employee wellbeing scores - and make more informed strategic decisions that will drive transformative change in the long term.

Best-in-class payroll software is one aspect of this, and is something that can integrate or sync with your other platforms to give you back your time to focus on transformation projects, not to mention help you connect with your staff through people and performance management modules. The best examples have the capabilities to empower people, create transparency and trust, and help HR to work more effectively with other departments.

Find out more about how PayFit helps HR managers & leaders transform outcomes for their organisation.

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