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HR improvement initiatives: How to raise funding to boost growth

HR departments drive growth by securing funding for key initiatives. Seek external funding, demonstrate ROI to executives, build talent strategies, leverage tech for efficiency, outsource functions and improve constantly. Promoting innovation, open communication and addressing issues fosters productivity and growth. A thriving HR function is vital for success.

Human resources departments are a crucial part of any business growth strategy. By providing support for numerous aspects of a business, ranging from its innovation and communication strategies to its process improvements, employment packages, and culture, HR professionals and leaders have a vital part to play in steering a company towards a constant upward trajectory.

HR is Still Largely Viewed as Disparate

One of the biggest challenges facing HR professionals is put in front of them, ironically, by some business leaders who still view the function as an organisation within itself, often positioned as a proverbial bridge between management and employees. 

Unfortunately, this presents a conundrum, as while many business leaders view HR as an inherently positive area that can actively contribute to a business’s success, others don’t see it that way.‌ In such situations, HR professionals constantly battle to green-light new initiatives, often facing resistance from those who could facilitate such positive changes.

The Workforce Demand is Changing

As the modern workforce becomes more remote and diverse, traditional HR methods need to adapt. HR professionals need to demonstrate flexibility by putting forward the right types of initiatives to retain their crucial staff members and meet the needs of their workforce, while also positioning the company in a profitable position with each passing year. 

This isn’t even accounting for the constant issues that many businesses have with attracting and retaining the right talent in the first place. If HR functions are cut as a cost-saving measure, these problems are exacerbated exponentially. 

In some cases, initiatives and ideas would require substantial funding and investment from investors or sizable chunks of a business’s annual budget. Sadly these ideas can be shut down due to a lack of tangible and visible returns on investment. As a result of this, more HR departments have sought alternative, low-cost and practical approaches to drive business growth. 

As an HR professional, it’s understandable that you want to make a pivotal difference in terms of company development and profitability. While funding may be difficult to source from the top, immediately there are other ways you can achieve this goal by tweaking how your HR department functions. Consider the following strategies to help you raise funding to boost growth initiatives.

How to Increase Your Chances of Funding to Support Growth Initiatives

Partner with the Finance Department

HR professionals should consider working closely with their company’s finance departments to develop cost-effective strategies for growth initiatives that they want to pursue and integrate within the business.

If you can clearly demonstrate concrete data and top-level figures of any upfront costs associated with new HR programmes or technologies, as well as potential returns, this would likely make funding proposals easier to justify. At the same time, you can show how such initiatives will contribute to key business goals.

Build a Robust Talent Retention and Development Strategy

Creating a talent development strategy is imperative for HR teams to drive business growth. Talent is the cornerstone of a successful business, and retaining this talent is increasingly challenging due to ongoing shifts in the job market. Industries across the board are experiencing a talent shortage, particularly in sectors requiring specialised skills, and this scarcity of qualified candidates can make the task of talent retention all the more critical. If the HR department can gain executive approval on the most essential skills, competencies and roles needed to help the business achieve its targets, this will make attracting, retaining and developing talent much more systematic.

Successfully convincing executives that funding for essential initiatives such as recruitment, onboarding, training, development, coaching, mentorship, and upskilling programs is a vital step. Demonstrating that these initiatives can support business goals and generate a positive return will lead to sustained business growth and a more engaged, productive workforce.

Research Government and Investment Funding Opportunities

It’s worth considering any private sector or government funding opportunities available for important business initiatives like skills training, investments, research and development (R&D), and more. If you can source external funding through grants or investments, or take advantage of some tax incentives, this could be a much-needed boost towards your HR and business growth plans. Whether it’s R&D tax credits or SEIS and EIS advance assurance tax relief, or anything in between, if successful, you will be giving the business a critical financial boost.

Work alongside management to determine which opportunities are the best strategic fit, and ensure that any proposals for funding meet all the relevant criteria. Many executives will relish the chance to preserve valuable funds where possible, so if such funding can come from elsewhere, they will likely jump at such an opportunity. 

Leverage Technology to Drive Efficiency and Insights

Investing in HR technology is another efficient way to generate funding for growth. New HR systems and tools can help improve productivity, data accuracy and efficiency, as well as provide some vital cost savings. This technology can include:

  • Applicant tracking systems
  • Performance management solutions
  • Data analytics software
  • Employee onboarding, engagement and management tools

If you can successfully develop a business case for such technology, and suggest how the technologies will add value to the business and employees by reducing manual workloads, improving data validity, driving engagement, and supporting a business’s key goals, you are more likely to convince stakeholders that funding is necessary.

Outsource Non-Core Business Functions

Researching and testing technology can also prompt HR departments to consider areas of the business which can be left to outsourced professionals. Non-core administrative functions like payroll, benefits, and recruitment, as well as marketing departments like web development and advertising, are all examples of business functions that can be entrusted to third-party specialists or agencies. 

Compare the current internal running costs of delivering services in-house versus that of an outsourced agency while highlighting the benefits of outsourcing and how it can give HR professionals more time and resources for strategic growth activities. Presenting such a case in the right way can open the door for essential funding and investment towards growth.

Make Continuous Improvement a Priority

Another crucial way to maximise business growth efforts is to develop a culture of continuous improvement. This means that the HR department should regularly evaluate their current processes to identify the most efficient and effective areas, and whether any can be automated, centralised or eliminated. If staff can be liberated from any repetitive, laborious or time-consuming tasks via an automated programme it’s worth presenting such a beneficial outcome to management. Continuous improvement of business functions will make teams more capable of identifying and responding to new opportunities as and when they appear.

Other Ways to Promote Growth in Business

Encourage Innovation, Feedback and Creativity

A successful business thrives off of innovation and creativity, as these traits help business leaders identify new markets to tap into while being one step ahead of the competition. The HR department can adjust tasks, projects and processes to ensure that all teams are exploring their best potential, and the best way to do that is to promote autonomy and ensure that all employees have a voice. If the appropriate resources and creative freedom are granted, it naturally leads teams to be more innovative and forward-thinking, consequently allowing the business to thrive.

Another aspect to consider in this strategy is to promote open dialogue and feedback, which can also bilaterally facilitate creative and innovative thinking. If employees’ ideas and suggestions can be embraced constructively and openly, it will further have an impact on engagement and business growth. While encouraging feedback, it’s crucial to ensure it’s constructive. Any feedback that is blunt, non-constructive, and detrimental will only stunt their progress, damage their morale, and lead to employee dissatisfaction

Bridge Communication Gaps Between Staff and Management

If management and employees are all on the same page and understand the business’s direction, strategy, goals, procedures and policies, it will lead to a more unified company. With open and transparent communication, in the form of team huddles, one-to-one meetings, training sessions, and feedback forms, ‌everyone is clued into developments in and out of the business. This will also facilitate other goals of addressing issues and solving problems which can also promote a more productive and supportive workplace. In turn, this will be instrumental in driving growth. 

It’s clear to see that there are many avenues for HR professionals to pursue to support business growth, through funding and in other ways. By implementing the initiatives and strategies outlined above, a business is more likely to grow as a result of the HR department that can, in turn, position itself as instrumental in that business’s success.

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