31 August 2016

7 Steps to raise the profile of HR


Barry Chignell

Barry Chignell

Barry Chignell worked in Ciphr's marketing team from 2012-2020.


HR transformation


HR are often underappreciated as a forward thinking and proactive function within a business. This isn’t, or shouldn’t, be true. With some pre-planning, forward thinking and effort, HR can become a power-house in driving change where it matters.

1. Have a clear purpose

In order for us to succeed in our endeavours, we need a purpose. Something to work towards, something that influences our decision making and something that motivates us to go to work each day and do the best we can.
Studies have reported that when we contribute to a higher purpose, we’re likely to have a healthier outlook on life and an increased resilient to stress. The same is true when in the workplace.

Establishing and aligning a departmental purpose within a team isn’t always easy. Your brand will (or at least should) have a clear purpose, values and mission however on a departmental level this could differ slightly or even greatly based on what you’re trying to achieve and why.

Purpose can be found in a number of ways and doesn’t have to be one main end goal, it can be a series of milestones too. It’s important to know what motivates you and your colleagues in order to identify your purpose. Working towards something you believe in naturally encourages passion and drive in everything you do.

According to statistics, purpose in your role will also lead to better things and help you to progress in your career.

Research by Imperative found that:

Individuals who are “purposeful” at work are much higher performers.  Specifically, they are:

  • 55% more likely than average to rise to director-level roles
  • 39% more likely to rise to VP or C-level positions
  • 50% more likely to be in the top position
  • Significantly more likely to be net promoters of their organisations, stay longer, have stronger relationships, report higher levels of fulfilment, and get higher performance scores.

Source: Huffington Post

2. Have a game plan

hr gameplanPlanning is essential to the success of any campaign. Everyone involved should be consulted with, listened to and in agreement with your plan to raise HR’s profile within the business.

A clear set of objectives, responsibilities and actions will add structure, accountability and clarity to your campaign. It’s important that regular communication is maintained in order to ensure that all team members are aware of and up to date on developments.
As well as the ability to track progress it’s essential to celebrate achievements as a team as well as tackle potential campaign issues. Cohesiveness and teamwork will create a support network, pool innovation, provide valuable feedback and drive the campaign forward.

“the best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry” – by Robert Burns

Encouraging transparency about activity and what it is that HR is trying to achieve will increase awareness, encourage others to follow suit and build a culture of communication and collaboration. Other departments within the company may offer suggestions or feedback based on previous experiences that could prove useful and help you to avoid pitfalls.

3. Be passionate

Being passionate is key to excelling in what you do, reaching your goals and encouraging others to follow suit. If you’re not passionate about what you’re doing, you’ll find it very difficult to encourage others to buy into what you’re trying to achieve and why.

Being passionate about what you do has many benefits, both for you directly and for those around you. Including:

  1. Passion helps you to stay positive when things get tough
  2. Passion rubs off on others
  3. Passion separates you from the crowd and gets you noticed
  4. Shared passion improves teamwork
  5. Passion motivates you to strive for success
  6. Achieving something we’re passionate about is more fulfilling
  7. Passion helps you to focus
  8. Passion increase innovation and creativity
  9. We enjoy working on something we’re passionate about

Different individuals have their own passions and interests. Utilising these differences within your overall team plan will allow you to diversify and take advantage of every member of your team for the greater good.
What motivates you to work late every evening may not have the same effect on a colleague. Finding what motivates different team members will improve your ability to influence and persuade.

4. Don’t be afraid to self-promote

If you want people to sit up and take notice, then sometimes you have to promote yourself and what you’re doing. Sharing progress on the company intranet, in meetings or during a break will help to spread the word about the good work that you and your department are doing, why you’re doing it and what benefits it will bring the business.

“Heroes must see to their own fame. No one else will.” ― Gore Vidal, Julian

Self-promotion shouldn’t, and isn’t, about boasting, this will have the opposite effect on the people around you. Aim to educate others and help them recognise your value within the business. When done right it can become the catalyst needed to encourage others to advocate what you’re doing and share it with their connections, helping you to cast a wider net and increase your network.

Promoting what you’re doing doesn’t necessarily mean it’s about you individually. It could be your team, department or everyone that’s contributed and helped you to achieve your goals, showing appreciation for others is a powerful career tool and attracts reciprocation.

Sharing news about HR activity will also invite a response and feedback from other areas of the business. This type of interaction helps to create discussion and encourage collaboration.

5. Be innovative

innovate at workIt’s not just product development that needs to innovate to succeed. Every area of the business, including HR, should be making efforts to try new strategies, improve existing processes and push the boundaries of what they do on a daily basis.

Innovation from HR is especially important as it will have a direct impact on other areas of the business. A bit of creative thinking and applying the smallest of changes to an internal process could increase sales or reduce the number of support calls.

Nurturing and encouraging a culture of innovation will improve communication and honest feedback as individuals share their thoughts and ideas.

Innovative workplaces have more productive employees, according to Dr. D.J.M. van der Voordt, of Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands. Van der Voordt, the author of “Costs and Benefits of Innovative Workplace Design,” indicates employees who have an interesting, beautiful working environment tend to be more productive. – Source: Chron

6. Embrace feedback

If you want to tap into the diverse experiences, skills and qualities of your business then you need to be happy to receive and act on feedback from colleagues.
If you’re being transparent about your activities and goals then you’ll naturally attract comments and critique. In an office environment, it’s very unlikely that individuals will be unnecessarily negative about your updates for fear of reprisals and will often offer constructive criticism and suggestions instead.

Reply to all, ask for clarification where necessary and act on feedback that helps you to achieve your objectives. If you to implement changes suggested by a colleague be sure to show your appreciation, this will encourage further feedback from them and others.

7. Recruit advocates

social advocacyIt’s not just HR that can promote their work within the business. Encourage others to do the talking for you too. When you’re thanked for something by an employee ask them to share the feedback with the rest of the business on the company portal or even social media. A comments and feedback board in the HR office can also be used to demonstrate how you assist the business on a daily basis.

By enlisting advocates, you increase your ability to reach a far greater audience. Advocacy can be encouraged when updating the business by simply asking employees to share your news, it could simply be via word of mouth or through the use of gamification and offering an incentive to individuals.