When it comes to the structure and function of the typical organization, HR is the glue that holds the revenue-generating pieces together. Both employers and employees depend on HR departments for finding top talent, compensation, interviewing, and so much more that impact everyone from C level to intern.


Despite the clear impact on both the organization and its contributors, however, HR is often overlooked. When times are prosperous, HR is valued. When times are less prosperous, HR is less valued. Because HR doesn’t seem to directly generate revenue, it is often viewed as an “optional” department. When looking at the most prosperous organizations, however, it is quite clear that HR not only holds its place within a company, but it also earns a spot at the executive table. This year, it is likely to see quite a few HR representatives at the “big tables” with various other executives.

Reserve (and keep) the seat at the table by:


In order to reserve a spot at the “big table,” HR needs to clearly show its value. One Rework article by Carol Anderson suggests treating HR as a sales-customer relationship: if the customer were to buy your services, would they be satisfied? Why or why not? Anderson writes, “HR policies and programs are all products and services that HR may provide to their customers…If the customer does not clearly understand the reason, does not feel as if they can do what is necessary without frustration, or looks elsewhere for services HR should provide, we are not meeting customer needs.” By adopting this mindset, HR can begin to objectively measure its own success.


In order for HR to truly save its spot at the table, it must consistently both strategize and act. HR departments are often accused of having no quickly applicable plan of action and growth. By developing a set of steps for how to gain more talent, where to place this talent, when to gain each employee, or various other steps for company growth, the department is able to prepare for the future while managing the present. In order to reserve their spots, HR representatives must act out these steps so as to show a pattern of true progress.


Think about how exactly to illustrate ability to the executive process. Because HR deals with all other departments of the organization, it has the insight necessary to act as mediator and ensure that all parties are on the same page as far as common goals are concerned. This is the best way to streamline processes and consistently add value. Sarah O’Neill of Forbes put it this way: “Once they know what is important to various department leaders, they can help to back up…goals through training, cultural interactions, and developmental goals.” In other words, they can enact the necessary procedures to ensure that things run smoothly toward that common goal.

How does your department communicate value to executive leaders?