Effectively Manage HR’s Work: McLean & Company

McLean & Company

In a new industry resource, global HR research and advisory firm McLean & Company provides a guided approach to effectively managing HR’s work as human resources professionals experience increased job-related stress and expanding strategic demands from the organization. The firm indicates that the uptick is associated with numerous undesirable impacts to HR and the broader organization if left unaddressed.

According to research from McLean & Company, the HR research and advisory division of Info-Tech Research Group, HR’s involvement as a partner in planning and executing the organizational strategy has increased from 36% in 2021 to 50% in 2024. The global HR firm explains in a new industry guide, Effectively Manage HR’s Work, that HR organizations increasingly support critical strategic initiatives alongside their standard transactional tasks.

“HR is dedicating more time to strategic responsibilities as its involvement as a partner in planning and executing organizational strategy has steadily increased,” says Amani Gharib, PhD and director of HR Research & Advisory Services at McLean & Company. “While this is a positive direction for HR overall, HR organizations are still managing the same volume of administrative and transactional tasks on top of strategic priorities without an increase in resource allocation. This has led to decreased effectiveness alongside elevated rates of workplace stress and burnout. To enable effective teams, HR leaders must proactively optimize and prioritize their work.”

Elevated levels of stress and burnout among HR teams can be accompanied by negative outcomes, such as decreased engagement, reduced performance, and increased turnover. These detrimental impacts come with significant costs to organizations, with the average cost to replace an employee equivalent to six to nine months’ worth of that employee’s salary. McLean & Company’s resource will help HR leaders effectively manage HR’s work and mitigate the risks of increased stress and burnout.

In addition to workload concerns and their associated impacts on HR teams, the firm’s research-backed guide points to systemic barriers that hinder HR’s ability to effectively manage their work, such as a history of negative stereotypes surrounding human resources. For example, HR leaders often fight the common misconceptions that HR lacks business and data acumen or that it has little responsibility beyond administration and bureaucracy, resulting in difficulty generating buy-in from key players for important strategic HR initiatives.

As part of its commitment to enable HR organizations to create workplaces where everyone thrives, McLean & Company has organized the resource into three easy-to-follow sections for human resources leaders and their teams. Each section includes research-backed recommendations that will help HR leaders make the prioritization of HR’s work an ongoing practice, ensure their teams undertake work that supports the organization’s strategy and goals, and enable other senior HR leaders to leverage various methods for managing HR’s work. The firm’s recommended best practices are outlined below:

  1. Evaluate the HR organization’s goals and work. Review organizational and HR strategies, then document HR’s work for the current and following year. Next, determine the impact and urgency of that work and evaluate HR’s current capacity to carry it out.

  2. Review methods for managing HR’s work. Evaluate the eight methods of managing HR’s work to determine which methods are feasible for the organization’s unique context. The eight methods, as included in McLean & Company’s guide, are distributedescopepostponedevelopeliminateautomateoutsource, and hire. A full explanation of each method is available in the resource.

  3. Initiate the change management process. Gain buy-in for HR’s methods for managing work, outline guidelines for handling ad hoc requests, and use the decision tree in the resource to evaluate ad hoc requests. Then communicate changes to HR’s work to affected individuals. Continue to evaluate HR’s work and effectiveness to remain agile moving forward.

McLean & Company’s guide further explains that HR leaders are often hindered from effectively managing HR’s work by biases and mindset barriers, such as the sunk cost fallacy, the fear of saying no, and the desire to accomplish all work for all departments, even when the work may be out of scope. Because of these obstacles, the firm advises HR leaders that success requires a mindset shift when selecting and implementing the methods to manage HR’s work.

To access the full guide or to view McLean & Company’s on-demand webinar on the topic, please visit Effectively Manage HR’s Work. The complete resource also includes the Manage HR’s Work Workbook tool, which HR leaders can use to document key insights about HR’s work and select the method(s) that will be used to manage it.

To attend upcoming free webinars on a variety of topics or explore the publicly available archive of recorded sessions, please visit McLean & Company’s webinars page.

Please note that a selection of McLean & Company’s research-based webinars are now offering professional development credits for recertification with SHRM, HRCI, and HRPA

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