A Business-Critical New Year’s Resolution: Developing Sustainable Strategic HR

January 10, 2018 | Randi Kenney | HCI
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Most of us have been back at work for about a week now. Have there been any significant changes in your workplace since 2017? The new year is often characterized by an onslaught of change, or at least a renewed commitment to seeking change. But for most HR professionals, change is the norm. In fact, 80% of HR and talent management professionals agree that their organizations are in a constant state of change.

This constant state of change is influenced by a variety of factors, but one thing is clear—the pressure for HR professionals to continue to do more with less is growing. Just as organizations are maintaining or even decreasing HR budgets, they are asking HR leaders to become more strategic, reducing time spent on administrative tasks and contributing more to business objectives. Yet, less than 40% indicate they have adequate staff to delegate tactical tasks or assign support roles.

It sounds like an unwinnable battle. HCI sought to understand this challenge with the final Talent Pulse research study of 2017: Developing Sustainable Strategic HR. In this survey, we asked nearly 500 HR and talent management professionals how they are finding success in coping with change and the ways in which they are working to become more strategic. Based on this feedback and interviews with thought leaders, HCI developed a Sustainable Strategic HR Index—ten indicators that correspond to key elements of strategic HR:

  • The strength of relationships and communication between the HR practitioners and the managers and senior leaders within an organization
  • The extent to which HR and talent management initiatives are fully integrated with business strategies
  • The ability to develop and implement new initiatives
  • Access to tools, resources, and information

A sustainable strategic HR function has measurable business impact. HCI research revealed as much back in 2013, and the relationship between strategic HR and business success is even more clear in this recent Talent Pulse. These organizations are more resilient in a climate of constant change. When HR initiatives are integrated with the business strategy, it empowers HR professionals to keep pace with the needs of an evolving workforce.

In order to move from tactical to strategic, HCI has identified that the process requires not only a shift in skill sets, but also a shift in mindsets. HR professionals must increase business and financial acumen, play a part in organizational strategic decisions, but also embody a growth mindset that will allow them to move from rigid to adaptable, isolated to collaborative, siloed to business-driven, and from making intuition-based decisions to developing evidence-based solutions.

For more information on the critical mindsets and skill sets for developing sustainable strategic HR, download the full Talent Pulse report here. You can also watch the research webcast on demand to hear HCI’s research team discuss insights and key takeaways from the report.