Turning Strategic Work Into Your Business’ Competitive Edge

coworkers discussing hr strategy

Geraldine MacCarthy is Chief Revenue Officer at Personio. In this article, she talks about how HR strategy can be built around the concept of strategic work to drive businesses forward. And, how present conditions reveal the opportunity for HR  departments and companies alike to achieve organizational excellence.  

In a post-pandemic world, how are businesses remaining built for growth? Lately, a lot of my focus has been on the light at the end of the tunnel. While nothing in life is guaranteed, there is a lot of reason to be hopeful after we emerge from our ‘Covid hibernation.’ 

And, as things get better, companies need to be designed to grow. For many businesses, and specifically for HR and People Teams, that means keeping up the momentum of HR strategy (or allowing for it) to develop, build, or optimize their competitive edge through work.

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What Does HR Strategy Mean?

In the past year, the ways we think about work have changed dramatically. We’ve had to change where we accomplish our work, how we do our work, and the different ways we now accomplish our work that results in growth. HR strategy has enabled people to do these things, thanks to a responsive, strategic, and empowered HR function.

How Can Work Become A Competitive Edge?

That said, work remains a fraught topic. Whether bogged down by contracts, legacy projects, or manual processes, there are still so many companies whose growth is being held back simply by the way they do their work. 

Work, as a competitive edge, is more about managing things like attention fragmentation and micro delays, so that you can focus on actually accomplishing the work in front of you.

That means less of those manual processes, and more work being done around HR strategy. In doing things strategically, it opens up the door to do even more, with the time to focus on it. 

How Do You Realize HR Strategy Through Strategic Work?

It starts with technology. Various technologies, particularly SaaS have democratized the availability of HR solutions for SMEs. This is the starting point for work as a competitive edge because it allows digitized processes to replace manual ones and make way for HR strategy. 

Essentially, we level the playing field through technology. But, that does not mean that all technology is beneficial or that the solution to more growth is not ‘more tech.’ In fact, it may mean less tech, done more efficiently. 

That boils down to the fact that attention management, and attention fragmentation, are becoming a huge issue across workforces of all kinds. We have so many applications, log-ins, and boxes to tick, that the solutions to work create more work. 

Read more about topics like these in our latest, post-pandemic HR study. 

Instead, what is needed is a solution that helps make work more seamless, and therefore, more productive. It means addressing and realizing the productive potential of HR and HR strategy, along with organizations more generally, to help businesses scale and grow. 

In many ways, this all needs to begin in HR. Let me explain why…

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Facilitating The Growth of HR Strategy

Over the past year, and then some, HR and People Teams have been challenged in so many ways.

The pandemic had teams turn remote overnight, still aspiring to the same quality of work, while managing stressed-out employees and customers, too. 

And, for a lot of companies, their HR teams were up to the challenge. They helped put policies in place, put together initiatives to maintain company culture, and strove to hit the same targets and goals even when times were at their most difficult. They helped build business resilience in real, meaningful ways. 

Now, organizations need to repay the favor by allowing that momentum to continue. That means allowing HR strategy, built and executed by HR teams, to facilitate work as a competitive advantage, by streamlining processes and introducing automation wherever possible. 

The way to do this is through thoughtful technology.

This is the kind that helps manage these processes, digitally, to cut down on micro delays and attention fragmentation across the organization. It starts in HR, but it helps power businesses to reach their goals.

Building Toward Something Bigger

Now that HR has a place at the table of senior leadership, we need to give them the tools to remain part of that conversation and even drive elements of it. 

This can help them not only manage people but ensure growth across the business through talent and other initiatives. 

A big part of this is ensuring that they have the time and the attention to devote to these initiatives. And the ways in which technology can help make that easier, rather than harder, by creating seamless and streamlined workflows. 

This way, work becomes your competitive advantage simply by allowing people to do their work, unlocking their full productive potential by allowing them to be productive.

About Geraldine MacCarthy

Geraldine MacCarthy brings almost 20 years of sales and technology experience in executive roles at category-leading companies like Dropbox and Google. As Head of Dropbox Business EMEA, she was instrumental in building up the European business. In addition, she spent over seven years at Google in multiple leadership positions supporting their European expansion.

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