How to Become a Strategic HR Department with a Seat at the Table: Stop Asking and Start Doing

By April 20, 2017Uncategorized

HR seat at table

Human Resources (HR) Departments have been asking and looking for ways to get a seat at the table for some years now. However, in a recent survey ( 2015), only 33.3% of survey respondents say HR is viewed as a strategic partner by management teams. So, how does an HR Department increase these results?

Here are 5 actionable ways to help your HR Department become a Strategic Business Partner:

  1. Start with taking a more active role in understanding the business. If the different business units don’t see that HR understands their everyday challenges and goals, they are less likely to come to HR for ideas.

Here are some things you can start doing today to learn more about the business:

  • Learn about industry specific trends.
  • Meet with department leaders on a regular basis to learn more about individual department needs, challenges, and what will help make the department successful.
  • Attend department meetings consistently, not only when it’s convenient.


  1. Provide solutions that are in the company’s best interest. As HR begins to understand the challenges and goals of the business and its departments, HR will be better equipped to provide solutions that contribute to the company’s success. In turn, the business will respond positively and look for more ways for HR to contribute to their success.


  1. Simplify and streamline HR practices and deliver. HR in the past was mostly about creating policies and procedures to keep businesses safe. However, some of these policies and procedures can lead to what others see as red tape that slows down other business practices. Think about it… Just because things have been done a certain way in the past, doesn’t mean it can’t change in the present or the future.

In keeping an open mind, here are some ways HR teams can learn to simplify and streamline their processes:

  • Speak with different department leaders to learn what various HR policies and procedures may be hindering the department’s performance.
  • Create a plan to look for ways to tackle the most common issues that come up
  • Deliver on your promises by creating service level agreements to ensure everyone is on the same page and know what to expect.


  1. Know your numbers. It has become increasing more important for HR teams to measure the impact of their decisions. After all, how is HR to prove their impact on the business if they don’t know the results of their efforts? Keep in mind, when measuring impact, it is important to make sure the HR analytics tie back to the overall business strategies and not just to the individual initiatives the HR Department is working on.


  1. Look for ways to incorporate technology. Technology is pretty much in everything we do today. It aids in streamlining and creating more efficient business processes. There is now a multitude of options of HR specific software to help with everything from recruiting and hiring, delivering information to people in different locations, and reporting. When looking at ways HR can improve its practices and be viewed as strategic partner, it is imperative to leverage technology.

Remember, that change takes time especially when it involves changing people’s thoughts and perceptions, so persistence and consistency here is key to becoming successful. Incorporating these 5 actionable ways will go a long way in helping your HR Department develop more credibility and in turn, become a more Strategic Business Partner.


References (2015). Survey: 1 in 3 management teams view HR as a strategic partner. Retrieved from

Njemanze, I. (2016). What Does Being a Strategic HR Business Partner Look Like in Practice?. Retrieved from

Andersen, E. (2013).  4 Ways To Become A Strategic Business Partner (And Why You Should Want To). Retrieved from

Ibarra, P. (2008). Get Up, Get Out, Get On It: How Human Resources Can Become a Strategic Partner. Retrieved from

Cole, K. (2016). Don’t confuse having a seat at the table with having a voice. Retrieved from