Moving the HR agenda from the back office to the boardroom remains the biggest hurdle

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Moving the HR agenda from the back office to the boardroom remains the biggest professional hurdle facing the discipline, according to new research commissioned by Hyland Software, a leading specialist in transactional electronic content management (ECM).

The comprehensive study included the results of a global survey which questioned over 200 professionals working across a range of business functions, including HR. Almost all (91 per cent) of those polled agreed that ‘the biggest challenge for HR in most organisations will be to bridge the gap from a transactional function to a strategic business partner.’

Meanwhile, the rest of the research painted a clear picture of the HR function facing an extended period of rapid change and transition as it seeks to align more closely with the business, at a time when the nature of work itself is becoming more complex with an increasingly international, cross-generational, multi-partner and technologically-dependent design for many work activities.

A ‘lack of business and strategic vision’ was identified by 46 per cent of respondents as being the most important factor which could prevent the HR function delivering effective strategic solutions to the business over the next decade. The same number identified the ‘failure to attract, develop, retain and reward suitable talent at all levels’ as a potential barrier to boardroom influence.

“This new research clearly shows that while there are – and will continue to be – many global HR issues that are crucial to the boardroom agenda, HR departments must consider the practical steps needed to build deeper strategic insight and drive closer business alignment,” said Mark Greatorex, director, Hyland Software.

“Yet the speed with which such activities are initiated means that HR must also look at its own effectiveness in terms of service delivery, speed of response, process execution, workflow automation and cost control.”

Other key findings from the research included the impact of emerging markets, the shift towards ‘work swarms’ comprising temporary teams of workers and the predicted growing importance for recruiters of social media influence.

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  1. I don’t know why HR professionals should be surprised when we are relegated to transactional roles! Having made the transition from a senior operational management roles to similar seniority positions in HR I can clearly see the difference in senior managers’ perception of HR staff compared with operational staff.
    Acting as an Advisor to CMI Level 7 students I repeatedly see human resources relegated as being of secondary value compared with those of technical value.
    HR professionals often refer to themselves as “Business Partner” without really understanding what this means and how they have to integrate themselves into the Business arena.
    I am often asked why the use of “Business Partner” is seen as the adopted title for HR staff. I do have concerns that HR might be using the Business Partner definition because there is not an alternative title that can be used for those in our profession who work on their own ie they are not managers because they have no direct reports,HR Executive suggests a different role, etc.Do we really need to say we are a Business Partner when this should be a given. Every employee must be a Business Partner or risk adding cost rather than value to the Business. Without wishing to denigrate the profession I am also responsible for cleaning staff and I place great emphasis with my staff on the value of clean toilets with plenty of paper, soap, etc. Offices are prepared for the day’s business activity by the time staff start work. It is my view that they too are Business Partners.
    I am working within the Company that employes me to develop the reputation of HR and empathise with those who are finding it a struggle but we must ensure that we are adding value not cost to Business rather than trying justify our right to a seat at the mythical top table.

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