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Level Blog

4 min read

Human Resources as a Strategic Business Partner

May 23, 2019 8:00:00 AM

Did you know, HR holds the keys to creating an agile organization? One that is constantly innovating for success.

Already, HR is thinking strategically and aligning with the priorities of the business. In an Accenture survey, the top challenges for HR executives were the same as those identified by all senior leaders across industry and country, including:

  • Increasing profitability (59%)
  • Keeping up with competitors (49%)
  • Identifying/generating new business (49%)

Consequently, some progressive organizations have elevated HR to the C-suite where it can address business challenges and plans for growth, innovation and market expansion.

The essential role of next-generation HR cannot be overstated. While it can transform traditional best practices and cost-savings for the business, the overarching goal is a continuous solution where HR reshapes itself, and the workforce, driving a competitive advantage like never before.

Trends shaping the future of Human Resources

Technological disruption has fundamentally changed the way we live, work and interact. In order to remain competitive, businesses have to adapt, and quickly.

As enterprises shift to new business models, there are unprecedented opportunities for HR to play a new and vital role in shaping the visibility of an organization, how it competes and its access to talent.

According to the Harvard Business Review, disruption is forcing HR to address the future of the enterprise, the future of the workplace, as well as the future of how work gets done. This includes:

  • Driving innovation and agility through workforce development
  • Helping extend the enterprise with a partnership ecosystem
  • Building an inclusive workforce with many different skills and talents
  • Creating new workforce experiences to invigorate teamwork and productivity
  • Forecasting future capabilities and enabling continuous learning

As HR leaders look to balance increasing customer and employee experience demands with strategic business imperatives, they must redefine traditional operating models, re-imagine service delivery and advance collaboration across the organization.  

Breaking down silos & stitching together larger organizational processes with intelligent automation

Organizational agility, innovation, collaboration and productivity cannot thrive in a siloed environment, and this flawed business construct has only been exacerbated by globalization, big data and advances in technology.

Having each function decide what matters most could make achieving incremental gains in individual units easier, yet the overall impact is generally underwhelming and difficult to sustain.

Thus, it should be concerning that research from the MIT Sloan Management Review found just 28% of legacy businesses have successfully digitized, and a little over half still work in silos.

A siloed business mentality thwarts business operations and future growth, but artificial intelligence (AI) is increasingly the solution.

Advances in AI present a significant opportunity for HR, and by leveraging intelligent automation, HR can be a strategic business partner.

Intelligent automation in Human Resources

A wave of new technologies purport to transform HR, but some are more effective than others.

Intelligent automation combines AI with automation, enabling machines to understand, reason and act, independently, or with human assistance. And by intelligently automating business processes and the development of critical business insights, HR leaders can spend more time focusing on their business partners and employees.

For the past decade, CEOs have stressed the importance of talent strategy to their organizations. But Gartner’s recent Emerging Risks Survey shows global talent shortage is now the top emerging risk facing organizations.

In recruiting, intelligent automation offers infinitely scalable levels of efficiency. And by understanding both processes and their variations, intelligent automation offers a more efficient way to modernize and streamline sourcing, attracting and retaining superior talent.

Other key benefits of leveraging intelligent automation in HR include:

  • Transforming the employee experience via cognitive assistants that tackle questions, problems and provide value-added information in real time
  • Compliant and secure employee data management
  • Managing on-boarding and off-boarding, quickly and easily
  • Improving data accuracy, providing a single view across disparate systems
  • Supporting career development
  • Automatically handling leave management to reduce absenteeism

Intelligent automation applies continuous process improvement in HR, transforming your business, building value and providing compelling employee experiences at a lower cost.


Are you ready for HR to be a strategic business partner?


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Michele Drummond
Written by Michele Drummond