Why is HR the “little brother” of finance?

By Scott Thomson, COO, Links International

We’re often told by our clients who are not in Human Resources that HR as a function lags behind other business functions when it comes to influence at senior leadership level, e.g. CEOs vs CFOs vs CMOs vs CHROs.Our clients are not the only ones, however, who are dissatisfied with with their human resources function

Why does HR as a function lack influence at leadership level?

Non-HR clients will speculate that the lack of influence is driven by:

• Weak HR reporting

In larger businesses, a company’s HR function is sometimes weak compared to other functions in its reporting or its ability to prove HR’s strategic impact. Common concerns are that HR does not leverage its transactional HR data (e.g. payroll data, leave records etc.) to solve strategic HR issues, or that HR’s data is unreliable.

In line with the recent trend of high profile companies publicly dropping performance reviews, a regular scapegoat is performance review ratings not being weighted for the time a reviewer and reviewee spent working together (i.e. performance review systems being skewed by reviewers who the reviewee does not usually work with).

• HR not viewed as essential business function

In smaller businesses, HR is often viewed as a ‘nice to have’ function and the last to be picked after the finance, marketing, sales and IT functions have been established (despite founding talent being crucial to the success of SMEs).

How is HR combatting these opinions?

links international hr outsourcing asia

The good news is that these beliefs (wrong or right) are driving a strong reaction from HR leaders!

We are seeing an increasing trend of HR leaders focusing on how they can elevate their team’s roles and influence by both reducing their transactional work and leveraging their HR data to ensure they deliver strategic value add.

The best ways in which we are seeing HR clients achieve more influence include:

• Outsourcing of HR admin
Freeing themselves from time consuming, low value processing work! Increasing amounts of clients are outsourcing their payrollvisa processing and contract management with a view of pulling their teams out of low value administration so that they can find meaningful ways to impact the business as well as reduce their HR and IT spend.

• Next generation HRIS, ESS & HR Portals
Introducing and integrating next generation, highly automated HR systems which streamline transactional HR work. For example, enabling automated employee onboarding & off boarding, contract generation, payroll audits and reviews through an easy-to-use, online HR portal.

• Streamlining recruitment admin 
Video or Digital Interview platforms with self-service interviews are radically changing recruitment through reducing time and cost of hire by removing the need for interview scheduling (and no shows!), i.e. enabling candidates to interview anywhere, anytime. In addition, the ability for interviews to be forwarded between hiring managers removes the need for multiple round face-to-face interviews and speeds up feedback loops from hiring managers.

 HR analytics
Exploring machine learning-based HR analytics that review data, discover patterns and turn patterns into predictions (similar to autocorrect typing on smart phones – but hopefully less prone to embarrassing misspellings!). The outcomes and recommendations of these HR analytics can be used to predict resignations, enhance recruitment and facilitate succession planning.

Will robots replace the need for human HR professionals?

Successful implementation of these game changing initiatives is no walk in the park and overcoming team concerns and effective change management is critical to transforming the HR function.

One of the most common concerns we hear when helping clients implement the above solutions is “Will robots replace me?” The short answer is “No… as long as you let the systems help you elevate your role!” The best results will always come from analytics together with the experience of the HR professional.

The bigger elephant in the room is what happens to HR if HR leaders don’t elevate their function? No doubt HR’s other brothers will be happy to help!

Interested in elevating your role through HR solutions or outsourcing payroll, visa or contract management? Links International specialises in HR Outsourcing and Solutions in Asia – Get in touch with us now!