The HR paradox: how do you spend time?

20 Nov 23 | Blog

“We’d love you to paint the Sistine Chapel, but first could you do some paperwork?”

“Walking on the moon? Go for it! As soon as you’ve logged all these data points”

“Solving world hunger is definitely something I want you to focus on, once this filing is done”


Ok, we’re exaggerating – but when it comes to the expectations that HR Directors face, these scenarios have a ring of familiarity. Because while the C-suite wants HR to drive business success, they’re often too tied up in administrative tasks.

Let’s explore how HR is torn between two identities – administrative and strategic – and how they can plot a way forward.

What does the C-suite want HR to be?

89% of leaders think that HR should become a key part of driving organisational success. So that’s that, right? C-suite backing for HR to take its place in the boardroom, be a decision-maker, and chart the company’s growth trajectory. Well, not quite.

Of those leaders, only 45% say they’re giving CHRO’s the opportunities and space they need to step into this strategic role. And 63% of C-suite still currently perceive HR as an administrative function anyway. 

There’s obviously a conflict here. Leaders want HR to be a strategic superpower, but they still want them to do everything else that they already don’t have time to do… so what about what HR wants for their role? 

What does HR want to be?

The majority of HR professionals – 91%! – are excited about the future of their role, and also see that it’s shifted considerably in the last few years. But there’s two problems:

  1. Hope is fading – with only 32% expecting that shift to continue, and 62% thinking about changing to a different career entirely

  2. Enthusiasm is fading too. 95% of HR directors say there’s too much work to do, and too much stress (so how will adopting a lead on strategy help?)

Admin and HR: where does the time go? 

Some studies suggest over 70% of HR’s time is spent on administrative work. Simply put, that’s far, far too much time.

 But that figure won’t come as a surprise to anyone who works in this area. 

After all, there’s 101 things on your average HR professional’s plate – hiring, onboarding, and training staff, managing payroll and leave, general operational duties, performance management, and more. So how can they find time to be strategic?

How can you give HR space to be strategic? 

The answer is simple: technology. Choose carefully, and it’s easy to free up time to spend more time strategising. There’s a couple of ways you could go, though: 

A) Software that makes admin easier: only 45% are using technology to handle administrative tasks – so there’s a lot of potential to free up time here

B) Software that simplifies strategy: only 59% of HR are using analytics – key to driving strategy – but technology like our People Analytics Platform can help

Here’s just a few ways our People Analytics Platforms saves time, and makes it easy for HR to become a strategic part of their organisation:

  • Automated analytics 

Just plug in your HRIS, and our platform automatically analyses all relevant data – identifying people trends, and making predictions about metrics like absence and attrition. 

  • Ready-to-send surveys

Designed by industry experts, you can send an employee survey in just a few clicks. That means gathering more information about your data is easy and fast.

  • Feedback themes

AI-powered text analytics means you don’t have to delve into pages of feedback – instead you can see the most commonly discussed topics, to identify your priority areas.

  • Drag-and-drop reports

To make change happen, you need to take your findings to the C-suite. Our platform has tools to make that effortless, so you can present data-fuelled insights and evidence for initiatives.

Save time, and make HR strategic – get started for free.

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Anne Therese Bogen, Head of HR, Thommessen

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