Empowering HR: Becoming a Strategic Business Partner

March 22, 2022

If you’re struggling to fill open positions or recruit qualified candidates, you’re far from alone. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the shift in employee demands has sent ripples through the labor market, leaving countless organizations scrambling to attract top talent. 

With employees constantly in flux, how can you take a proactive approach to grow your business? To redirect your talent strategy and keep your business alive, you need to tap into HR. Chances are, your human resources department is already equipped with the tools needed to strengthen your hiring practices, tackle your recruitment challenges, and build a strong company culture. 

In today’s war for talent, HR leaders need to evolve to be more responsive to employees and organizational needs. By empowering your HR department, you’ll take steps to retain the talent you already have—and turn the skills gap and Great Resignation from a challenge into a valuable opportunity.

What are you waiting for? Here’s how to help HR leaders shift their relationship with employees and recruits to become a strategic partner in your hiring process.



Expand Your Recruitment Opportunities

Recruitment is a key responsibility of HR. Of course, HR is also responsible for employee engagement, development, data management, and other areas, but one of the key areas of focus is to attract, select, and onboard qualified candidates.

Recruitment isn’t just an operational activity, but also a key strategic activity for any business. 

Why? It’s simple: The contributions of each employee play an integral role in the growth of your organization. Just like a square peg doesn’t fit into a round hole, a poor-fitting hire can take a toll on your business outcomes.

At the end of the day, your recruitment process reflects on your employer brand. An effective process helps create a qualified talent pool, helping your business meet medium- and long-term hiring objectives. Meanwhile, an ineffective process can leave you scrambling for candidates after an unsuccessful search.

With the right strategy, HR can expand recruitment opportunities, proactively recruit new talent, and fuel business growth. Here’s how to get started.


Strengthen Your Online Presence

When it comes to manufacturing and production, especially for small businesses, most of your potential employees won’t physically know about your presence in the market. To combat this potential lack of awareness, it’s time to start building a strong online presence.

So, where do you start? You won’t be able to build an online presence overnight, but it’s well worth the time and effort. Depending on your organization, you might showcase your services online, promote your open positions on social media, or connect with candidates using an omnichannel approach.


Meet Candidates Where They Are

A seamless communication strategy is key to successful recruiting. Today, your ideal candidates are researching organizations on their smartphones, filling out mobile applications, and texting potential employers. When you can meet your ideal candidates where they already are, you’ll gain a key advantage over the competition.

HR recruiters who text can reach applicants faster, especially if they’re already working. Sure, texting might not completely replace email or phone calls, but it can save recruiters from days of phone tag and unread emails at a critical point in the recruitment process.


Maintain Touchpoints With Candidates

Maybe a candidate didn’t score the job they applied for, but they would make a suitable hire in the future. How can you encourage them to re-apply to your company?

To stay top of mind, you need to maintain communication with candidates throughout the talent funnel. When HR regularly posts social media updates, sends email newsletters, and engages with candidates via text message, they’re building strong relationships. By keeping in touch, HR can reduce your time-to-hire for future candidates. What’s more, maintaining touchpoints can also encourage referrals by boosting your employer brand.



Create an Effective Onboarding Program

Onboarding is about much more than what happens when new hires show up at your warehouse. Sure, that’s when the onboarding process formally kicks into gear, but the scope and goals of your process should be much broader—with downstream impacts across the full employee lifecycle.

Think about what onboarding means in the context of talent shortages. According to research by Brandon Hall Group, organizations with a strong onboarding process improve new hire retention by 82 percent and boost productivity by over 70 percent. Sounds like a win-win, right?

Of course, the benefits of great onboarding don’t end there. By implementing better onboarding processes, you’ll also encourage “boomerang employees”—employees who return to your company after stints elsewhere—down the line. And if that’s not convincing enough, better onboarding also has the potential to improve key metrics related to talent and safety in one swoop.

Ready to build a top-tier onboarding program? Here’s how HR can transform your onboarding process to give you the best chance of retaining new hires.


Extend the Onboarding Process

Onboarding can make or break your talent strategy, but countless organizations overlook their onboarding process. According to Gallup, only 12 percent of employees agree that their organization does a great job onboarding new hires. In other words, 88 percent don’t believe their organization has a strong onboarding process. How does your company stack up?

Instead of viewing onboarding as a one-week orientation, transform your process into a year-long program to help new hires seamlessly integrate into the team. By incorporating long-term socialization into the onboarding process, HR can engage new hires in the company culture with mentor programs, team-building activities, and coaching programs.

New hires that have a positive onboarding experience are more motivated, and their willingness to refer increases 93 percent when they have opportunities to communicate their goals, meet team members, and ask questions before day one.


Automate What You Can

Onboarding is traditionally a dry, boring, overwhelming process for new hires, but it doesn’t have to be a drag. When HR automates forms, video training, and policy education, it alleviates some of the burden on new hires.

After all, nobody likes to come to a new job to sit at a desk all day watching training videos and filling out forms. To automate the onboarding process, consider sending forms to your new hires before their starting day. This way, when they walk in the door, all the boring paperwork is done, and you can focus on the more exciting aspects of onboarding.


Add a Personal Touch

For new hires, the onboarding process is full of nervousness and anxiety. By adding a personal touch to onboarding, HR professionals can help ease first-day fears and help new hires feel more confident in their new employment.

Some small steps that can make all the difference in your onboarding process include:

  • Personally introducing new hires to team members
  • Providing them with a company roster, so they know how to contact everyone
  • Pick up where the interview left off, and give them an introduction to their new job
  • Set up their workstation before they arrive
  • Encourage other team members and managers to introduce themselves



Build a Standout Company Culture

HR plays a key role in building company culture. Company culture isn’t fixed, and it evolves with changing employee demographics, workplace norms, and other factors. It influences everything from recruitment success to employee productivity—and it’s worth spending time, money, and resources to get it right. 

When HR professionals recognize how company culture impacts the bottom line, they can use culture as a barometer to measure productivity, retention, and other key metrics. Here’s how to identify potential areas of improvement in your culture—and how to fill the gaps in your workplace.


Focus on Employee Engagement

How engaged are your employees? By assessing employee engagement, you can see how strong your company culture really is. When employees are engaged, they’re more likely to connect with your brand values, speak positively about your organization, and work productively.

If your employees aren’t engaged, it’s time to look at what areas of your culture can be improved.

Some ways to boost employee engagement include:

  • Encouraging continuous development by providing training and coaching programs
  • Recognizing your employees’ achievements 
  • Listening to employee feedback and recommendations


Share Company Values With New Hires

HR shapes the perception of the company for recruits and new hires. To effectively onboard new employees, your company culture should be present throughout the onboarding process, including in-department training. 

Effective onboarding helps new hires warm up to your company and hit the ground running. If you want new hires to embody your company’s mission, vision, and values, you have to show them what that looks like—and there’s no better time to communicate that than during the onboarding process. 

For the best results, give new hires a glimpse of your culture on their starting day. Incorporate employee stories into training videos, help employees understand the goals of their role, and maintain an open line of communication.


Encourage Employee Feedback

Human resources serves different purposes for different team members, but its main role in fostering a positive workplace culture is to encourage feedback throughout the organization. Team members turn to HR to voice their concerns and opinions. At the same time, leaders use HR to issue new directives and workplace policies. 

These tools provide HR with opportunities not only to improve management styles, but also to clarify the company’s mission statement, vision, and values. This way, HR can take an active role in shaping how employees define company culture to drive long-term success. 



Tap Into the Power of HR

Job openings are piling up—but finding the best talent isn’t as easy as it used to be. To beat the talent shortage and boost employee retention, it’s time to empower your HR department.

Ready to promote HR to a strategic business partner? Set up a discovery call with our team today to turn the war for talent into a strategic hiring opportunity.

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