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The Strategic Role of HR in Turbulent Times: - Unlocking Business Success

I often get asked what value HR can really add to a business apart from hiring and firing? My answer is that when a business allows a HR professional to be fully immersed in the business and act as a trusted advisor, mentor and coach, the added value to the business can be limitless. I've been fortunate enough to work as a trusted advisor and it was a real privilege, and together with the leadership team we made a lasting impact that I am very proud of.

In today's constantly changing business landscape, the role of a strategic HR professional is a source of curiosity for many. People often wonder how these professionals add value to a business, particularly during times of change and uncertainty. In our current economically turbulent environment, marked by a surge in insolvency numbers and unprecedented challenges, the significance of the strategic HR professional has never been more evident.

HR has transcended its traditional administrative and governance functions to become a key strategic partner in driving real business success. This blog delves into the role of a strategically minded HR professional and the tangible value they can bring to an organisation (even when navigating challenging scenarios such as workforce reductions.

Let's explore the ways in which a strategic HR professional can deliver substantial value to an organisation, particularly during times of change and uncertainty.

Elevating HR to a Strategic Partner

Historically, HR has been largely associated with hiring, firing, and managing paperwork. While these administrative functions remain essential, modern HR has undergone a remarkable transformation. It now stands as a strategic force, acting as a trusted advisor and partner to business leaders and managers, truly living, breathing, and feeling the business. In times of economic turbulence, businesses must adapt rapidly, and HR serves as the linchpin that facilitates change and success, helping businesses articulate their strategy to their workforce.

Data-Driven Decision-Making: Strategic HR professionals are well-versed in using data and analytics to inform their decisions. They can precisely measure the impact of HR initiatives, identify areas for improvement, and offer valuable insights to business leaders. This data-driven approach establishes HR as an essential partner in strategic business planning.

Workforce Planning & Cost Control: A strategically minded HR professional transcends the role of a mere advisor; they become a partner in strategic workforce planning. They deeply understand the business objectives and possess the ability to align HR initiatives with the company's long-term goals, including helping a business articulate the roles that need to be hired, ensuring that the business considers the business rationale for each role, budget considerations and the impact of if a role remains unfilled. They can help with the prioritization of roles and consider revenue implications, including the strategic significance of roles that fill capability gaps.

Talent Acquisition and Retention: In today's fiercely competitive job market, attracting and retaining top talent is challenging. A strategic HR professional excels in designing and executing recruitment and retention strategies that seamlessly align with the company's objectives. Their role extends beyond identifying the right candidates; they also cultivate a culture that keeps employees engaged and committed, ensuring that fit-for-purpose development and succession plans are in place for the workforce. For further information on how to use the 9 BOX grid as a talent tool click here

Employee Development: Investing in employee development isn't merely a goodwill gesture; it's an investment in your organisation's future. HR professionals possess the acumen to identify skill gaps, devise comprehensive training programs, and ensure that employees have ample opportunities to grow and contribute to the company's success.

Employee Engagement: Engaged employees are an invaluable asset. They tend to be more productive, creative, and loyal. HR can lead initiatives aimed at fostering a positive workplace culture, which encompasses recognising and rewarding accomplishments, promoting work-life balance, and providing opportunities for meaningful development opportunities. These factors collectively contribute to heightened employee engagement. This can include helping to upskills managers capability and to assist with culture change initiatives.

Change Management: Change is an inherent part of business, especially during turbulent times. HR professionals play a pivotal role in managing transitions, ensuring that employees are well-prepared and adaptable. HR professionals can be instrumental in helping a manager articulate a well-thought-out case for change that aligns with the organisation's strategy and is thoroughly risk-assessed and legally compliant. This capability can make the difference between a change being readily embraced or facing significant challenges.

Effective change management minimises disruption and enhances the overall health of the organisation during periods of uncertainty.


During periods of economic uncertainty, investing in your HR strategic capability is paramount. Strategic HR professionals are not mere overhead costs; they are value creators who can help your business navigate challenges, seize opportunities, drive sustainable growth, and bring an extra depth of thought to complement the business leaders. They are the trusted advisors and partners who will guide an organisation towards a brighter, more prosperous future. However, it's important to note that this can only happen if a business is willing to let HR be a true business partner, allowing them to fully immerse themselves and act as mentors and coaches, thereby unlocking the limitless potential of HR's role in the organisation.

If anyone would like any HR support on this topic, please reach out to Progressive HR Solutions at

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