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Human resources professionals are in the unique position to influence every employee and touch every department while overseeing organizational initiatives. As the HR function evolves, however, many organizations are struggling to keep pace.

According to a 2015 Korn Ferry survey, 47 percent of organizations do not offer HR-specific leadership development programs. Among those organizations that do offer HR-specific leadership development programs, two-thirds said these HR-oriented programs were not as rigorous as other leadership development initiatives. Furthermore, 58 percent of the executives surveyed said they did not believe senior HR leaders receive the training they need to perform at their best. Another 58 percent of respondents said there were no succession plans in place for the CHROs at their organizations.

These are staggering statistics when one consider the crucial role that HR pros can play in organizations. HR is too important to be treated as an afterthought.

Here are some of the critical ways in which HR can drive organizational success, as well as advice on how to offer relevant training in each area:

Defining and Aligning Organizational Goals

Only 37 percent of employees understand their employer’s overall mission. Today’s HR leaders can help close this gap by defining organizational goals and ensuring workers are aligned with the company’s aims.

Giving HR pros the training and development they need to facilitate organizational alignment will help organizations outperform competitors. Employees who know and understand their employer’s values are 51 times more likely to be engaged. Higher engagement results in better productivity.

How to Kick Off Training

HR pros and leaders need to know what an attainable goal looks like before setting any for themselves or employees. The company’s overall goals need to be defined clearly before any individual employee goals can be aligned with the organizational mission.

Human Capital Management

In a recent survey from ClearCompany, 44 percent of respondents said their organizational leaders were not effectively managing human capital.

HR departments are now leveraging data and new technologies to make better decisions when it comes to hiring, succession planning, and culture. HR knows your people are your single largest investment. To increase the return on this investment, you must manage it as you would any other.

How to Kick Off Training

A crucial component of human capital management is performance management. Implementing a competency-based performance review system can be one of the most effective ways to ensure proper management of employees. Such a system provides a universal, understandable criteria for evaluation.

Before implementing such a system, however, HR pros and other leaders need to understand what competencies are, and they need to clearly define employees’ job roles. Kick off human capital management training with a lesson on what competencies are and what they look like for each role. You can then structure reviews around the identified competencies.

Emotional Intelligence

HR originated as a people-focused role, so it is no surprise that HR pros tend to be some of the most emotionally intelligent leaders in any given organization. HR pros need to understand what inspires employees to strive for success. This knowledge helps HR promote a culture conducive to talent growth and achievement.

How to Kick Off Training

Emotionally intelligent leaders are self-aware, able to self-manage, empathetic, and have strong relationship skills. While teaching empathy isn’t always possible, it is crucial to help leaders learn how to manage themselves and be aware of their emotions. This type of awareness can be taught by setting up accountability checkpoints throughout different processes in the HR department.

Once regarded as the people you saw on your first day to fill out paperwork, HR has now grown into a secret weapon for many organizations. As HR leaders continue to drive success across their organizations, it is crucial for companies to provide these professionals with the training and development opportunities they need to perform at their best.

A version of this article originally appeared on the ClearCompany blog.

Sara Pollock is head of the marketing department at ClearCompany.



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