Human Resources’ Seat at the Table: Five Tips to Earn and Leverage Your Value

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Human Resources’ Seat at the Table: Five Tips to Earn and Leverage Your Value

Re-blogged from

By Dana Meyer

Whether you work at a government agency, mega-corporation, or a small business, leaders are requiring more of Human Resources (HR) than ever before. In a global study, Towers Watson found that organizations are increasingly committed to running their HR function like a business. As manager self-service processes and technologies are implemented, HR professionals must step up and provide a blend of strategic insights and operational discipline.

businesshandinmiddle-629x945Are you a Human Resource professional who is struggling to get your seat at the table and provide even more strategic value? If so, you’re not alone. Many HR partners are finding it’s often tricky to know how and when to gracefully assert themselves. You might be finding that once you’ve got the opportunity to participate in critical meetings, you’re not sure of your role and how to demonstrate your clear value.

Here are five tips to help you secure and leverage your seat at the table:

  1. Know the organization’s top priorities. Connecting the dots, determining where an organization is today and where it needs to go in the future, is a critical mapping exercise for HR professionals.  One way to identify the top-priority dots is to attend meetings. Listen for topics that keep coming up but aren’t resolved.  Watch to see who influences the discussions and decisions. How well are people listening to each other? What happens when an opposing view is raised? These are dots that show what issues need to be addressed and the path for doing it. Every meeting will give you more information about how the organization operates and what is needed to achieve success overall.
  2. Check your baggage to communicate with confidence. Being aware of and proactively addressing your fears before an important interaction can put you more at ease. Do you get nervous around people in positions of authority? Increase your confidence and minimize insecurities by seeing key organizational leaders as simply human, complete with fears and shortcomings of their own. This simple reframing helps you to exude a more confident demeanor.
  3. It pays to “walk your talk.” Actions speak louder than words when it comes to credibility. Set a solid foundation in your business partner relationships by keeping your word, following up on your work, upholding promises and honoring commitments big and small. We all slip up at times. When you do, acknowledge it, learn from it and get back on track.
  4. Build your degree of influence over time. Here is a simple test to gauge your degree of influence. Imagine you are calling a person who you work with closely. They see your name pop up on caller ID. What do you imagine is their first reaction? Are they happy to see you’re calling? Would they rather send you to voicemail? There are valuable insights you can gain by honestly asking yourself how key people would react to your call. Identify the steps you can take over time to improve key relationships and nurture ones that are already strong.
  5. Use a systems mindset to facilitate change. There are many elements that drive employees to perform. Policies, technology, cultural norms, competencies and incentives are all at play. If you are involved in an initiative to create a policy, consider the behavior change that the policy is really intended to drive. What is it exactly that you want employees to start or stop doing? If following the process outlined in the policy is a hassle or confusing and others seem to break policies without consequence, simply creating the policy won’t be sufficient to change the behavior. Work with your colleagues to determine what additional strategies may be necessary, such as coaching, simplifying the process, or providing incentives for compliance.

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About Author

Scott Rosen

Want to know why 90% of the NJ, NY, DE and PA companies who work with us for their HR staffing needs (including Merck, Rutgers, PNC Bank, Daimer-Chrysler, Pfizer, SAP America and 150+ others) either re-hire our firm or refer us? We specialize exclusively in the Direct-Hire and Contract Placement of Human Resources Professionals including EVP of HR, VP of HR, Human Resources Manager, Compensation Manager, HR Generalist, Benefits Manager & Training Managers. The Rosen Group is one of very few firms in the NJ, NY, PA, and DE area that focuses on one, single area all day, every day – Recruiting and assessing HR talent! Our low-volume (2-3 positions filled per week, 8-12 per month and 100 per year), highly-consultative “super-niche” approach means that I will send you the right candidates – the first time (and typically within 1 week). For example 98% of our HR contractors complete their assignments, 50% are extended and 30% to 40% receive permanent offers! We’re giving Fortune 500 companies, SMBs and nonprofit organizations access to the best and brightest HR candidates. We have a database of thousands of HR executives with a wide range of experience, expertise and talent at all levels all the way up to the VP HR level. Plus we use social media and employment branding strategies to get your opportunities in front of top candidates. We're committed to the professional growth and development of the HR executives that we place for clients. That’s why I founded the HR Executive Alliance and the Talent Acquisition Leadership Alliance and have created the HR Department of the Year Awards. Maybe this is why the Rosen Group is one of the Inc 500 Fastest Growing Companies (Number 147!) – and why 90% of our clients refers us or rehire us.