This article was updated on July 27, 2018.
As an enterprise leader, you know that human resources and business growth must work in tandem. Attracting and retaining talent while developing your existing workforce's skills will be top priorities for any growing enterprise. For HR leaders, staying abreast of upcoming changes no longer means simply hiring new talent and preparing current employees for expansion. It also means spearheading the adoption of tools and practices that will better support your enterprise's growth.
During times of transition, HR should be a key strategic player. Tools such as automated technology and big data can help your HR team maximize its energy and keep the focus on optimizing human capital management (HCM) practices for your organization's future.
Automation: Enabling Strategic Focus
Even if your business is not looking to expand globally, there's a strong chance that other organizations outside of your home country are looking to expand internationally into your market, unleashing a variety of disruptive competitive forces. To compete effectively, your HR team will need to shift focus toward employment branding efforts, compensation structures, leadership development, succession planning and skills enhancement to continue to hire and retain the best people.
In order to free your team from transactional burdens and enable them to work on the these strategic areas, it may be wise to invest in more automated solutions. According to an ADP study, Harnessing Big Data: The Human Capital Management Journey to Achieving Business Growth, the average large organization has 33 payroll systems and 31 HR systems. Taxing your team with manually keying in and moving data across these disconnected systems, or other tasks that a computer could do just as well, is not efficient and not likely to build employee loyalty and engagement. You have built a solid team, so use their energy and skills where it counts.
Big Data: Optimizing Insights
Using insights gleaned from big data has become increasingly important for HR leaders. The same ADP study advised that "strengthening the data infrastructure is clearly a critical first component" in growing organizations. Big data helps uncover trends and insights into your workforce, which can then be used to optimize the efficiency of both new and old practices to support business growth.
As an article in Entrepreneur explained, HR leaders can use big data analytics in four key areas: Performance management, retention, training and hiring to enable and support a workforce that can deliver real business impact. Xerox, for example, used insights from big data analytics to cut attrition rates in its call center by 20 percent.
Big data is also a great tool for benchmarking compensation in a specific role or industry, helping you identify flight risks proactively, thus driving retention. Benchmarking age and retirement with big data can also be a strategic advantage. As an ADP Research Institute report explains, organizations "gain tremendous strategic insight when they measure Human Capital Management (HCM) data and then benchmark, or compare, that data to organizations of analogous size within the same or similar industries."
For example, big data analytics might highlight that some of your organization's talent is nearing retirement age, which should provide you with the impetus to create opportunities for these retiring employees to share their outgoing know-how with your younger employees who will eventually fill those vacated roles.
Training and Development: Enhancing Organizational Capabilities
Analytics and insights are only useful if they result in optimized organizational capabilities. This might mean renewed training and development protocols, for example, since the skills necessary for success are sure to change as your organization expands.
HR leaders have an essential task in providing training and support so that new and old employees, at every level of the organization, can adapt to changing markets. As a report from McKinsey Quarterly notes, "many underestimate the importance of organizational factors in translating a growth strategy into reality. This oversight can dampen a company's growth plans: Organizational processes and structures that are well suited to today's challenges may well buckle under the strain of new demands or make it impossible to meet them."
Today's HR leaders play a strategic role in successful business growth that comes directly from maintaining and grooming talent. Automation frees up valuable HR resources for more strategic activities, and activating big data provides critical insights that will drive retention and inform your decision-making. Utilizing these tools will give you a host of advantages as your organization expands, allowing for human resources to play a key role in developing a workforce that will support continued business growth and success.