In part one of this series, we covered how the concept of psychological safety can create an environment of trust between your HR and recruiting teams and your executive leadership. Here, we’ll go over how you and your team can speak the language of organizational alignment and business strategy.
Effective relationships result when HR trusts its executive leaders and CEO and when executive leaders and the CEO can trust in the competence and value of the HR function in achieving the company’s goals. Problems arise when there is a communication gap between HR and its executive team, so it is important that your CHRO, Director, or VP of Talent is part of that executive team in order to help your execs understand what HR does and how it contributes to the success of the business.
Company leaders tend to focus on business outcomes and may not trust that you and your team understand the unique challenges of the broader organizational goals set by leadership. Your representative on the leadership team must know what the big picture looks like, understand the company’s vision and long-term goals, and the business constraints your leadership team is working to solve.
Why Your Executive Team is Focused on People Data
In 2021, with new SEC filing requirements for public companies including HR metrics, HR has moved into a space where the core of your business has been for a long time, around true data-driven decision making. People analytics takes all the rigor of data analytics, prediction and research, and applies it to what everybody says is their most important asset: their people. This use of data about human behavior, relationships and traits allows organizations to make strategic people and human capital decisions.
It’s vital to understand your executive team – including their business needs, goals and expectations. As an HR leader and strategic partner, your role in workforce planning is at the heart of what really matters to your company leaders. This means that you and your team are responsible not only for the forecasting that allows you to properly plan for your recruitment advertising and marketing spend, requisition workload, and expected deliverables based on organizational goals — but also for best practices for reporting HR metrics, which metrics must be included in SEC filings, and how that data is constructed.
Data is the common language between you and your executive team. It is the best starting place for you and your team to understand the organization’s high-level goals for growth and the expectations around competencies you’ll be seeking in candidates in the future. To establish trust and credibility, your company leadership must see that their goals and expectations are what drives your workforce planning and forecasting, along with how you plan to meet these expectations.
Measure your impact
Be up front about areas of improvement and create goals and targets for members of your team. This is where you’ll want to measure your progress against milestones, assess for continuous improvement, adjust the plan, and course correct to address new workforce issues.
Where are you growing, what business areas are changing or shifting, and what is being outsourced? The information you’ve gathered from your company leadership is going to drive your team’s KPIs. Additionally, forecasting and benchmarking important strategic metrics like time-to-hire allows you to build your recruitment marketing strategies, which gives you time to plan creative and innovative campaigns that result in a robust talent pipeline and hiring funnel.
Communicate goals, expectations, and current state
Support these conversations with weekly dashboards to hiring managers and executive leaders. Being able to tie the success of your recruitment marketing efforts and programs to organizational growth and revenue is the best way to speak the language of your company leadership.
While we use lots of data to make decisions in HR and recruiting, the only metrics that matter to your leadership team are the ones that have a direct impact on your company’s bottom line. The weekly dashboard reports should include an executive summary and an offer to follow up with more complex data. You don’t want to present pages of data without tying them to your objectives, so topline data that correlates to your specific goals is going to be the most effective method of communication.
Meet with leadership frequently
Commit to weekly or biweekly meetings to share results, metrics, and top recruiting challenges. Creating a continuous communication loop with stakeholders and hiring managers ensures that you and your team’s efforts stay focused on the results that are tied to high-level organizational goals. You’ll want to touch base regularly and be direct. Ask what you and your team can do better, what you’re doing right, and what you could do differently.
This isn’t the same as course correction based on metrics; it’s strictly a channel for open communication. Your role as a strategic partner is to support the departments within your organization in the staffing, hiring, and employee engagement programs that are bringing in and retaining top talent and keep them in the loop on where your team stands with identified KPIs. The best assessment of your success outside of data is direct feedback from your company stakeholders.
If you and your team can link talent planning to strategic planning using data and predictive analytics, you’re already speaking the language of your C-suite. Moreover, you are building trust with your executives as well as credibly linking your HR and TA outlines to the larger organization’s business outcomes and objectives.This is the indicator of trust that you’re looking for from your executive team, and vice versa making for a long and successful yet strategic relationship.