Technology and the growing global workforce are continuously changing the way we work. Human resources (HR) operations used to be centered around compliance and risk management. However, the future of work is on its way, and it calls for a different approach.

As automation gains more traction, organizations are focusing on human capital transformation and management. As a result, HR functions are also changing. They are beginning to play a key role in strategic planning and, in many cases, are also involved in executing these strategies.

If your organization, like many organizations, is navigating its way through this shift, you might be wondering what the role and day-to-day functions of a modern HR leader should look like. The answer? There are many ways that HR can be involved in a strategic business role.

HR and Technology

Technology is evolving, and it is transforming the way we do business. Technology-enabled platforms in HR are the key to building an efficient business operation. These HR systems are enabling business to perform and grow, from recruitment and performance management to training and development.

With the right technology platform empowering the HR function, your organization will be prepared for the years ahead. On the other hand, having the wrong technology can have a direct impact on the success of the business.

Align Learning and Development Goals to Support Business Objectives

Learning and development (L&D) programs should always support the organization’s key mission and objectives. HR professionals play a critical role in people, management and development, which gives them unique insights into how people-related factors are currently impacting business goals and enables them to predict problems that may occur in the future.

HR professionals can help business leaders find the connection between business objectives and talent development. Finding this connection is critical to the alignment of L&D and the business.

Use Data to Develop a Solid Business Strategy

HR can drive business results and lead an organization. One of the most significant ways it supports business goals is by assessing and ensuring that employees are ready for growth and change. To support the future of an organization, it is important to analyze “where we are now” to clearly envision a “where do we want to be” scenario.

To that end, HR collects data with learning analytics regarding employee engagement, skill level, productivity and job satisfaction. Then, HR professionals can use this data to develop a solid business strategy with supporting L&D initiatives. For example, HR data can help businesses identify the root of an issue and how addressing the human element can solve it.

Recommend Training and Development Solutions

Whenever there is a major change or business initiative, HR plays a key role in change management. For example, if a company plans to introduce a new software, HR can provide insights into how well the new program will be received. They can also use data to develop a software adoption training program or campaign to help employees adjust to the change. HR’s involvement in developing and recommending training solutions is critical to successfully attaining the organization’s goals.

Reduce Costs

HR professionals can also provide insights into how to reduce workforce management costs, identifying opportunities for savings as well as which programs and technology will be the most effective when it comes to L&D. They can also use learning analytics to determine how their employees learn best, where the knowledge gaps are and how to bridge those gaps. Finally, learning analytics can optimize employee training programs, evaluate their effectiveness and measure return on investment (ROI).

These insights help organizations maximize the impact of their investment.

Leverage Change Management

With digitization and the success of technology in the workplace, it is important for an organization to embrace change. Change management is a strategy that will help HR professionals and learners alike to cope and keep up with the ever-evolving technology space. For an organization-wide digital transformation, HR and L&D professionals have to ensure a seamless shift that creates minimal disruption in the organization. There is a strong correlation between an organization’s change management capabilities and its ability to meet business objectives. In other words, organizations that invest in change management efforts have better adoption and a higher return on their investment.

The first step to successful change management is communication. The HR team must successfully communicate the need for change and the rationale behind it. This message should be strong, involve the senior leadership and management teams, and include clear answers to common employee questions.

One of the most common reasons for employee resistance to change is fear of the unknown. As the culture of the organization changes, employees may feel a little lost and find themselves asking, “Where do I fit in?” HR must step in to frankly answer their questions — even the difficult ones. By frequently and candidly addressing how the change will impact employees’ roles, HR can drive success — with their support.

Engage and Monitor

Organizations are quickly realizing the need to improve employee engagement across the globe. One strong indicator of employee engagement is how well employees are adopting training and development initiatives across the enterprise. This understanding will help organizations assess their employee development measures and make any necessary adjustments to ensure that training and development is aligned to organizational goals.

HR teams play a critical role in aligning employee training with an organization’s goals to create effective business strategies. With the right insights, analytics and change management strategies, HR leaders can lead an organization to success.