In all aspects of business—from where and how we work to broader questions of a company’s culture and values—a new generation of managers is throwing out convention and looking for newer ways of doing things. This extends beyond small or surface changes. In many offices, traditional hierarchies are being reevaluated as greater strategic collaboration between individual departments and executive staff is encouraged.
For human resources professionals, this presents an opportunity to become more involved in organizational strategy and, in doing so, develop tools for working more effectively and contributing more actively to the success of their organization.
What Is Organizational Strategy in the HR Document Management System Context?
Every well-managed business has both short- and long-term goals. Whereas an organization’s policies shape the day-to-day, it’s strategy that guides it towards big-picture objectives. What does this look like in practice? Because it by necessity deals with the long view, organizational policy can be shaped by a number of factors:
- Business model
- Company culture
- Capability requirements
- Talent management
- Internal branding
- And more
Ultimately, anything that helps your business fulfill its mission and purpose is part of organizational strategy, and the HR document management system does just that. Traditionally, organizational strategy was set by executives and followed by staff. But as conventional thinking about how a business should perform is changing, the nature and role of organizational strategy is changing with it.
What Are the Hallmarks of Good Strategy?
Before we look at the role HR can play in organizational strategy, it’s worthwhile to step back and look at what exactly good strategy should aim to achieve. Regardless of where it’s coming from, a business’s organizational strategy should:
- Be actionable and energetic: An organizational strategy isn’t just a list of your business’s long-term goals—it’s a tool for achieving them. Mission statements and vague declarations of company values are one thing, but in order for a strategic plan to be effective, it has to provide a clear road map for translating them into real-world success.
- Be resilient and flexible: At the same time, however, there’s no way for strategic planning to anticipate everything that happens in the future. A too-rigid organizational strategy leaves your business resistant to change and unable to adapt to the world around it. This results in missed opportunities, frustrated employees, and stagnant growth.
- Develop leaders at all levels: No good strategy is based around a single individual. Smart long-term planning will draw from the strengths of your key people but use that energy to build a more capable workforce across the board. Smart organizational strategy recognizes an intrinsic link between the professional development of your staff and the long-term viability of your organization.
- Unite strategy and technology: Your organization’s technological infrastructure plays an important role in helping achieve its long-term goals. By facilitating collaboration, streamlining workflows, and freeing up staff to focus on the big picture, technology is an often overlooked component of strategic planning. Ultimately, the better able you are to leverage the resources available to you as an organization, the more effective you will be at realizing your long-term ambitions.
The Role of Human Resources
As more businesses understand the importance of effective long-term strategizing, HR, and consequently, the HR document management system, is uniquely positioned to play an expanded role in decision-making. We see this already in the evolving attitudes of those in the field. A 2008 survey by the Society for Human Resource Management discovered several notable findings, which today seem prescient. In the survey,
- 62% of HR professionals agreed that HR was capable of aligning its work with the larger and longer-term business strategies of their organization.
- 64% agreed that their department plays a shared or partial role in managing change and cultural transformation.
- Respondents identified managing talent (52%), improving leadership development (45%), and managing demographics (34%) as important future priorities for HR professionals.
Clearly, there is room for HR to have a more meaningful impact on the development of board-level goals and strategies. Fully exploring this largely untapped resource can have a number of important benefits for businesses as a whole.
Why Bring HR On-board in Corporate Strategy?
From the management side of things, there are advantages to engaging your human resources team in strategic planning. In many organizations, HR is the only department with a ground-level view that touches all aspects of your operation. As such, they are uniquely positioned to understand what employees want and how to make their lives easier.
Looking at the priorities noted above, we can see how they dovetail with the hallmarks of effective organizational strategy:
- Managing talent: Managing talent is the process of identifying, attracting, and retaining high-potential individuals. Good people respond to and are engaged by an actionable and energetic organizational strategy. When HR managers are brought to the table in strategic discussions, they become more aware of the external and internal forces—such as emerging markets, demographic trends and more—that shape an organization’s long-term plan. As a result, they become empowered to find staff who will fit best, improving retention and helping the organization meet it goals.
- Improving leadership development: The best employees don’t just respond to organizational strategy—over time, they will play a key role in shaping it. Leadership development is about nurturing internal talent, identifying opportunities for skilled individuals to play more senior roles, and ultimately building a more resilient workforce. This is not just a matter of finding people to fulfill a current role—a proactive, empowered HR department can identify untapped resources, bring them to management, and use them to guide strategic thinking at every level.
- Managing demographics: An aging workforce is one of the most pressing human resources challenges of our time. Failure to effectively manage demographics can create future leadership gaps as more senior staff retire without passing on their knowledge and experience to younger team members. In taking on the role of managing demographics, human resources managers become competency stewards for their organization and can play a key role in developing a more flexible workforce well into the future.
Using An HR Document Management System As a Strategic Tool
So far, we’ve looked at the key role HR managers can play in helping an organization:
- Being more actionable by recruiting and retaining key staff
- Being stronger internally by creating leadership opportunities, and
- Being more resilient by managing demographic shifts
What we haven’t yet considered is the impact that technology can have on their ability to do so.
The need for technology that helps HR professionals access information in a streamlined, efficient matter is often overlooked. A large part of organizational strategy is knowing your employees. A 2012 survey of HR managers by Oxford Economics found that “less than one-third say their HR departments provide key analytics across the enterprise.” What most executives fail to realize is that the data necessary to do just that is readily available—it’s simply a matter of providing employees with the tools to access and manage it in a meaningful way.
Document management software (DMS) may not seem like the key to more effective organizational strategy, but there are a number of ways in which it can help HR take a more expansive role in important planning decisions. Document management software:
- Makes data more accessible: HR records contain key metrics for evaluating employee performance, identifying weaknesses and strengths, and guiding strategic planning at the organizational level. DMS allows you to take a big-data, analytics-based approach to HR. The best HR document management system platforms allow for real-time feedback on employee performance and trend monitoring on an ongoing basis—hard data and demographics that support smart planning decisions.
- Improves productivity: Forbes magazine writes that “technology can make HR easier, faster, and more effective.” Nowhere is this more evident than in document management. An HR document management system improves productivity by reducing rework, ensuring more seamless integration across platforms, and eliminating the risk of human error in categorizing and sorting HR records. This frees up staff to focus on more interpersonal work that builds stronger relations with staff at all levels.
- Enhances collaboration: Document management software facilitates safe collaboration between departments by allowing multiple users to work on a single document without worrying about file version integrity, data loss, or other issues. The easier it is for managers to communicate and collaborate, the more dynamic and responsive your organization is overall.
- Reduces costs and manage risk around compliance issues: Lastly, an HR document management system is an important cost-saving tools, both in HR departments and across organizations. They keep your bottom line low by making complex administrative tasks simpler. Document management is also an important part of compliance with HIPAA, SEC, and other regulatory standards—the right system can be extremely effective in reducing the amount work involved in an audit and mitigating risks of non-compliance.
Getting Started With eFileCabinet
eFileCabinet is a leading human resources document management software for businesses of all sizes. Our products—which include both on-premise and Cloud-based DMS—are powerful strategic tools that facilitate more meaningful interactions between HR managers and C-level executives.
If you’re not already using eFileCabinet to capture, store, manage, share, and protect valuable data, you’re missing out on an important strategic tool that can position your organization for long-term success. For more information, keep browsing our website. To request a quote, contact our sales department and speak with a representative today.