4 Ways to Gain Credibility with C-Suite Leadership

What techniques are effective to create a collaborative relationship between HR leaders and the C-suite? I’m not speaking of a ‘seat at the table’ – organizations move too fast to be sitting down! However, time and time again, we hear about how HR believes they aren’t a part of the strategic direction of an organization – of which they most definitely should be.

The HR Function is Critical to Organizational Success

The HR function is integral to any organization and without participating in strategic decisions, HR operates in a silo. There have been endless discussion/research/conferences on this topic but, for the most part, it’s a one-sided dialogue – we are talking mostly to ourselves rather than communicating and collaborating with our executive leadership.

An introduction to an interesting SHRM webcast notes:

“Despite decades of talk about HR stepping up to a strategic role and gaining a seat at the table, business leaders are still twice as likely as HR professionals to describe their HR teams as “reactors,” rather than as “partners” or “anticipators of business needs.”

NOTE: This webcast is available through July 2018

Additionally, at the recent SHRM Annual Conference in Chicago, many of the presentations were geared to a thought first attributable to politics – “You’re either at the table or you’re on the menu”.

Why is this still an issue? Is HR somehow missing the boat when it comes to understanding the language of the business? Are leaders still not convinced that HR can be an extremely beneficial partner, not just a necessary evil? I see a lot of HR titles that include VP or Chief but are these just platitudes rather than truly being a partner with leadership?

4 Ways to Gain Credibility with Executive Leadership

There are many ways we can bring more credibility to the C-Suite and now is the time as more and more leaders recognize the importance HR plays in their staff and therefore contributes greatly to the bottom line. Some thoughts on how to leverage this phenomenon:

  • Today’s business issues ARE HR issues – think of #MeToo, the fall of Uber’s CEO and other high-profile events that are demonstrating the absolute need for strong HR
  • Increased emphasis on diversity, inclusion & belonging is being credited for improved profitability – see the recent McKinsey report “Delivering through diversity
  • Realization of the importance of the brand of an organization to meeting talent needs – HR contributes greatly to this area both internally through the company culture and externally to potential candidates
  • Arm yourself with data – go beyond the spreadsheets and dive into analytics – your counterparts in Finance, Sales & Marketing have been doing that for years

I’m curious to know what tips and tactics you’ve used to succeed in truly being a part of the leadership team. It’s much more than just the CEO and CHRO, but also the rest of the management team such as VPs and Directors. I believe this can only be overcome when the environment and culture think of HR’s involvement as part of the DNA. We’re making progress, but are we succeeding?

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Pamela Harding

Pamela Harding

Described by HR Magazine as ‘An HR Linker and Thinker’, Pamela Harding manages LinkedIn’s largest group of HR professionals. As CEO of Metzano she brings together 1.5 million professionals as they network in LinkedIn groups and is community chair of Linked:HR, the largest single profession group on LinkedIn.

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  1. Can I still access the 4 Ways to Gain Credibility with Executive Leadership webinar for CEU’s. Is there a fee?

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