HR is evolving as a business partner, but a good number of professionals focus on providing service that is more transactional in nature - HR Administration, Legal Compliance and Benefits Services. While these are certainly a value to the organization, a seat at the table is earned by figuring out the "why" of the services...why are we offering X benefit program, why are we recruiting for X position, etc. - it all goes into the strategic alignment of the business goals with the talent pool in the organization.
A recent article from CFO.com, "Promote HR Leader and Reap Profits", hones in on the point that IF HR becomes focused on the business goals, they CAN significantly impact the bottom line. The folks at SuccessFactors seemed to prove that with their recent study of the 2012 annual reports of all Fortune 500 companies. They found that the minority of companies that did not list an HR executive as an officer of the company had an average 21 percent lower net profit margin than did their industry-peer companies.
Karie Willyerd, vice president of learning and social adoption for SuccessFactors adds, “We think what that says, based on this analysis and some other studies we’ve done, is that a chief human resources officer can drive an agenda within the executive board about aligning people to goals, and they can insure that performance appraisals are done.” Obviously, one of the key ways to drive alignment of people with goals is to tie them with the annual review!
So the easy secret to getting a seat at the table is bringing your own special sauce that is the key element of the gathering. Soon the executives will say, "That's what's been missing all along"!