Human resources occupies a unique role in any company. Unlike other departments, HR has a strong connection to every department, from seeing how each team contributes to overall business strategy to zeroing in on individual employee needs. The modern HR professional goes beyond the administrative call of duty and embraces a relationship to everyone in an organization.
It’s that very connection and understanding that affords HR professionals the unique ability to act as a “chameleon” of sorts—kindly borrowing certain strategies they see working across the org. Because HR chats with everyone, any employee can serve as a valuable mentor.
The best HR leaders now enact multiple business strategies to take their companies to the next level. Here are four roles that will serve them well to emulate in their day-to-day:
Marketing plays an essential role in the overall success of a business and, although it may not seem like it at first, it plays an equally important role in human resources. Think about it: at its core, recruiting is based on marketing the company and its open positions to job seekers. And the rise of digital marketing has made it easier than ever for HR to play the part of the marketing professional.
How it applies to HR: The global competition for talent has required HR to take on marketing. When it comes to attracting applicants to the company, it’s partly up to human resources to market the company’s employer brand and its reputation as an employer.
One extremely effective way to do this is by helping job seekers visualize what it might be like to work at the company through culture or recruitment videos like this one by Shopify. Featuring corporate culture videos, employee testimonials and photos on social media is an effective way for human resources to market open positions and attract top-tier talent.
To go from administrative expert to strategic business partner, HR professionals need to be financially intelligent. They need to understand the universal business language: accounting.
How it applies to HR: Being well-versed in accounting can help with a number of business practices, from developing budgets to creating proposals. Most importantly, however, accounting helps HR professionals manage performance and identify return on investment (ROI).
A knowledge of accounting makes it easier to crunch numbers and measure employee performance based on inventory, sales, customer satisfaction and more. Accounting can also help HR professionals calculate ROI to demonstrate the cost-effectiveness of various HR-related initiatives, such as employee development, team-building and wellness programs.
When it comes to talent, human resources and sales go hand-in-hand. Just as recruiting comes down to marketing to job seekers, recruiting also comes down to direct sales. HR professionals need to understand sales strategy before they can make informed decisions about talent requirements.
How it applies to HR: To figure out what type of talent is needed, where to find it and how to secure it, HR needs to have a deep understanding of the company’s products and/or services, as well as various market conditions. Understanding sales strategy helps human resources professionals identify where talent or skills gaps exist within the company and how to best fill those gaps.
4. Customer Service
Last, but certainly not least, human resources professionals need to take a page out of customer service’s book. While human resources is increasingly becoming a strategic field, it is a service department, first and foremost. For the HR professional, the customer is the employee and customer service is the HR brand.
How it applies to HR: Just as customer service employees strive to meet the needs of customers, human resources professionals focus on the needs of employees (both current and prospective). HR is typically the first interaction a person has with a company, so understanding job seeker and employee needs and how to cater to them is essential. Adopting a customer service state of mind is good practice for today’s HR.