Blog Articles

8 Ways HR Teams Can Become Strategic Partners in their Organization

To help HR teams become strategic partners within their businesses, we asked HR and business leaders for their most effective approaches.

October 25th, 2023


To adapt and thrive in today's modern workplaces, HR teams are not only managing personnel but also strategically shaping the future of their organizations. We've sought knowledge from HR and business leaders who have shared their invaluable insights on how HR can become a true strategic partner within their businesses. From anticipating and raising alarms early to playing a pivotal role in shaping the overarching goals of the organization, here are the top eight strategies for HR to become a strategic force in their workplaces.

Anticipate and Raise Alarms Early

To truly become a strategic partner within the organization, HR needs to have its finger on the pulse. 

Expecting issues with employee engagement, retention, or staffing? HR needs to raise the alarm early and often, well before the problem itself materializes. Not only does this highlight to the wider business the power of HR management, but it also gives managers time to prepare for upcoming challenges. 

This also ensures that HR is actually listened to during high-level meetings and conversations, as other departments will rely on these forecasts. The wider business will then start utilizing HR strategically, rather than just reactively, increasing the scope of HR practice throughout the organization itself.

Chloe Yarwood, HR Manager, Test Partnership

Observe Meetings for Strategic Insights

Having an HR rep simply sitting in as an observer in meetings can be advantageous to the overall company. Team solutions or HR needs can be gleaned and then shared with upper management. This can help create more strategically aligned budgets, for example.

Jarir Mallah, Human Resources Manager, Ling App

Prioritize an Employee-Centric Approach

When HR teams are employee-centric and work on putting their employees first, they can really build stronger relationships with employees. This helps them understand employee needs, struggles, and how to get the best out of employees. 

Therefore, they can offer their insights and become strategic partners within their business by getting the most out of their employees and ensuring productivity.

Max Wesman, Chief Operating Officer, GoodHire

Partner in Talent Identification and Hiring

Our company has found that partnering with our business units in identifying and hiring the right talent is key to our strategic partnership. HR teams are traditionally more strategic than transactional, so partnering with other business units is often not a natural fit. 

However, we have found that identifying talent gaps across our organization and partnering with the business unit on the hiring solution has been very successful. By having the HR team bring expertise to the table on the type of talent that would be needed in the role and the skills and experience needed to fill the role, we have been able to partner with business units in successfully filling their talent gaps and bolstering our organization.

Luciano Colos, Founder and CEO, PitchGrade

Adopt an Evidence-Based Approach

Taking an evidence-based approach can significantly enhance the effectiveness of an HR team. A firm belief in using data to inform decisions is beneficial. This doesn't mean ignoring intuition entirely, but data can often highlight patterns or trends that might not have been spotted otherwise. Frequently pulling reports and spending a significant portion of time analyzing this data to extract meaningful insights is a good practice.

What can be found is that data-driven decision-making can be a game-changer for an HR team. By identifying key trends and patterns in the data, narratives can be crafted that prompt timely and effective actions. This is where the true value of a strategic HR partner lies. 

By leveraging data in strategies, precision, proactivity, and impact can be increased. This, in opinion, is one of the most effective ways HR teams can be strategic partners within their businesses.

Martin Potocki, CEO, Jobera

Focus on the Big Picture

One step HR teams can take to be strategic partners within their business is to look at the big picture. Look at the current state of HR and how that plays into the long-term future of your company. Think about what your team might need in the next few years so you can create programs and processes that will aid your company now and into the future. 

Daily HR work touches every aspect of organizations, from dealing with compensation to hiring and firing. It is easy to get lost in the day-to-day tasks, but one should look at the big picture from time to time and plan for it.

Peter Peterka, Managing Partner, Six Sigma

Stay Informed About the Entire Business

HR teams need to be informed in order to do their jobs effectively. For a long time, we got by with outsourcing our HR services, but one of the big mistakes we made after hiring our own in-house HR staff was that we treated them like their own siloed-off department, there to handle hiring, firing, and paperwork. 

Luckily, a great HR manager was hired, because after about a month of this, she came and told, point-blank, that she needed to be in all of our top-level meetings. HR teams need to know about your growth targets, about the tools employees are asked to use, about your marketing strategy, about your budget, about your entire business. 

This gives them the knowledge they need to refine job descriptions, improve training and compliance, and plan ahead for expansion or contraction.

Nick Valentino, VP of Market Operations, Bellhop

Shape Overarching Goals of the Organization

Being a strategic partner is all about being involved in shaping the overarching goals of an organization through the lens of your unique department. If HR is not yet a strategic partner, the C-suite is more likely to be convinced of their value when HR comes forward with insights from their arena and can demonstrate the impact on the business.

In reality, HR should be considered a strategic partner from the jump because your employees are crucial to success, and siloing HR "issues" from the business is shortsighted.

Gates Little, President and CEO, altLINE Sobanco

Final Thoughts

In modern business, the role of HR has transcended traditional personnel management. It has evolved into a strategic role that is pivotal in shaping the future of organizations. The insights shared by HR and business leaders underscore the importance of anticipatory action, data-driven decision-making, and an unwavering focus on employees. By adopting these approaches, HR teams can help guide their organizations toward a more strategic future.

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