There is no question HR departments across the country should have more respect than they do. However, often times the CEO and other C-level leadership pass off the more administrative tasks to the HR department.  All the while, you likely have wonderful ideas solving real challenges of the business. Where did this major disconnect come from and why doesn’t the HR department have the respect it deserves?!

The simple answer: you haven’t given them a reason to respect the department.

The status quo relegates you swamped in paperwork. You’re so being busy you’ve forgotten to look past the hundreds of emails in your inbox and lengthy to-do list — both causing that nagging perennial anxiety preventing you from enjoying your summer vacation.

What is it all for?

Are you making the difference you envisioned when you took this role?

Does the impact you have on the organization match your potential?

After working with dozens of incredibly smart, passionate HR leaders this year, our belief is no. The value you’re adding compared to the value you can add is too big of a delta for us to sit still.

This is why we’re bringing you five simple questions to ask your leadership that will earn you respect in the organization. Now, don’t go busting into the CEO’s office and read these things like a proclamation from Game of Thrones. Instead, artfully weave them into conversations with leadership so you don’t put them on the spot at the wrong time.

Soon, they’ll be knocking on your door asking for your opinion and insight — all the things you wanted when you took the job and all the things that bring real, positive change to the organization.

5 Questions to Ask That Will Earn Respect for the HR Department

1. Can you identify the top 20% of performers in the company so we ensure they do not leave?

It is vital you have identified or can identify the top 20% of performers in the company. If you believe in Pareto’s Principle, 20% of the people get 80% of the work done. These individuals are the gems of the business and must be treated like they are your customers. When you position them as the most important people to the business — in terms of value, the importance of identifying them quickly will rise on the leadership’s radar.

2. What is the average cost to the business when an employee leaves?

Of course, an SVP leaving is much different than an intern, however, averaged out, what is the ball park figure cost to the business when someone decides to leave? Costs include recruiter fees, opportunity costs to revenue (sales), or production (engineers). If your leadership doesn’t have this answer, help them find it out. Work backwards from past employees leaving and get a number and keep refining it. Understanding this number immediately puts you in a position of a strategic advisor to the C-level leadership. They begin looking at you and respecting you because you have a bottomline mentality.

3. What is the average tenure of an employee at the company?

Luckily, LinkedIn Company pages offer this but it’s not an exact science. Many people will get the dates wrong of when they started. Knowing the average tenure of an employee gives you a benchmark to work from. Extending this number reduces churn and adds bottomline revenue to the business. In addition, it can help frame how you gameplan ways to increase tenure in the organization.

4. What is the company wide sentiment?

The best companies hire quickly from referrals. Happy employees who do meaningful work stay longer and produce greater results. The more your employees would recommend the better you can recruit. Understanding the baseline metric of employee satisfaction is important. Send a Net Promoter Score survey out to the entire company and see where everyone stands. Doing this will produce invaluable visibility for the senior leadership.

5. Are our employees developing? If so, how do we know?

Development is critical to performance management. The CEO with HR as a strategic advisor need to own performance management. Yet, when you ask Senior Leadership if employees are developing, most have no idea or no way to say yes with valuable data. Mastery is one of the driving motivators of today and tomorrow’s workforce. Understanding development trends and velocity is a key insight that you should be able to know and deliver to senior leadership.

Ask these questions at the most opportune time to earn the respect from leadership and most important add value to the business as you know how.



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