Compliance drives many HR policies and practices as well as benefit offerings. But the role of the HR professional has gone and must go beyond that of a compliance expert to that of a trusted strategic business partner. Similarities of strategy and compliance in benefit programs and a discussion about a good communication plan as a key strategy to engage employees about the value of their benefits was addressed during the June annual conference of the Society of Human Resource Managers (SHRM).
In a SHRM webcast poll conducted a few years ago, 70% of HR professionals said that they have a strategic role in both compliance and corporate ethics programs. In an earlier SHRM study, on average, 27% of HR professionals said that HR is included in the overall business strategies of their firms. The emergence of the HR function as a strategic resource and a major business contributor is gaining momentum. The growing interest of the role of Chief Human Resource Officer is one example of how firms are uniting strategy and compliance as an HR function, and transforming the HR function to that of business partner. According to Cornell University , HR can also be leveraged strategically to lead the charge of complying with proactive ethics, a practice that entails adherence to safety and environmental regulations and workplace governance-related practices.
While most HR practitioners understand the importance of complying with state and federal mandated rules and regulations and have programs in place to protect their firms from the risks and penalties of non-compliance, how many HR and benefit decision-makers work hand-in-hand to present a business strategy that envelops both the legal and regulatory side of HR benefits programs? How many HR departments develop a communication plan that provides employees with information about the value of their benefits packages and the reasons behind their firms’ benefits decisions? What do you think about the evolving role of HR as a strategic business partner in your organization?