Talent Circles

Monday, March 9, 2015

HR’s Evolution from Cost Center to Revenue Generator




By Jessica Miller-Merrell 

The role of HR and recruiting has done a complete 180 degree turn from where it once began. Many years ago, HR was born out of the need for companies to be in compliance, complete paperwork and develop processes and controls. This area of the business was seen as a necessary expense, and certainly not one that boosted the company’s bottom line. HR teams grew as business leaders realized that the organization was in need of essentials like an employee handbook, onboarding and orientation for our new hires and consistent interview processes. HR professionals spent years working as the administrative arm of the company, meeting the needs of the organization but not considering their revenue.

As we all know, however, things change as time goes by, and the human resources industry is a perfect example of just how that happens. We’ve gone from everyone hating us and misunderstanding us to business leaders prioritizing talent, and have earned our role in the executive ranks due to our specialty, which is the human capital that propels the success of companies.

Today, HR’s effect on the business extends far beyond the initial hire. Talent management leaders are responsible for many facets of the business that make a significant impact on the organization and its people.

Beyond talent acquisition
It is true that the HR department and recruiters are expected to be more innovative in their talent acquisition than ever before, but there is so much more to building a workforce than recruiting and onboarding. HR professionals are also expected to deliver when it comes to developing and engaging our current and future organizational talent. This means that we are constantly honing our talent acquisition strategy to bring in the best and brightest, as well as cultivating leaders within our own organizations. Today, we know that our jobs don’t just start when we receive an application and they don’t end after the employee’s first day. Our role is more long term than it has ever been before. We’ve gone from executives simply looking at recruitment costs to understanding how a long-term approach increases retention and saves a significant amount of money.

Leading the technology front
A relatively new aspect of HR that we are seeing is being tasked with selecting technologies to help us engage our workforces focused on the future of our company. From talent networks to interactive training and the many other areas of technology we cover, the decisions we make have a huge impact on our employees. The technology we choose for our candidates and employees help them engage and grow while also helping us do our jobs effectively and efficiently.

Focusing on the future
There may have been a time when HR was simply focused on the next hire or the next employee promotion, but we are no longer there. The ability of a company’s HR department to be forward focused is one of the most significant ways we bring value – real monetary value – to our organizations. As an industry, we’re future focused, data driven and developing talent strategies that compliment instead of compete with the business and market projections at our company. We’ve earned a seat at the table, which allows us to see and hear firsthand what the organization’s goals are and make sure ours help to accomplish what the company seeks to achieve. 

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology strategist specializing in social media. She's the Chief Blogger and Founder of Blogging4Jobs. You can follow her on Twitter at @jmillermerell.

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