The role of Human Resources (HR) as a strategic partner to any organization has never been more important than today. Here is a quick test to identify why. (The responses reflect the current reality many organizations are facing.)
- Your business and product offering is changing
- Your customers are changing and expecting more
- The marketplace and economy is changing
- Your suppliers and vendors are changing
- The way you make money and margins is changing
- People in your organization are changing and learning new skills daily to compete (Turnover does not count.)
Results if this trend continues = Certain Disaster Looming
If your people are not changing faster than the changes in the marketplace, you could be in serious trouble. Today many progressive organizations realize the importance of the Human Resource Professional as being a key contributor to the strategic planning and execution processes. In reality, the most important asset any company has is its people. In effect, the people in your organization are now the only true competitive edge you have.
Looking back, Human Resources is a relatively new profession. Having emerged from the lineage of payroll or ‘personnel’, HR is closer in age to IT but unlike IT has struggled to find its relevance as a strategic business partner. Owners and executives view HR as the people who hire, fire, make policies, do payroll and generally keep them out of trouble. Though these functions are critical they don’t make a direct link to revenue growth or forecast productivity improvements and therefore are in serious danger of lacking strategic impact.
How does your HR Department become more strategic?
Here are the first two steps to get you started:
1. Get Your HR People Out of HR
In order to be strategic an HR department has to know your business. That’s really hard to do behind a desk. Ideally, your senior HR managers should hold an operations, sales or marketing title for a while. If this is not doable then get them out on the floor making them jointly responsible for the productivity and profitability of a business unit for one month. Huge investment? Yes, that’s the point.
2. Connect HR to Sales and Marketing
Sales and Marketing is dead in the water without support from operations. Operations is dead in the water without great people. HR can link the right people, and the right accountability systems so that Sales & Marketing can deliver what your customer expects. HR must understand changing customer and market expectations and address the strain being exhibited on all levels of the organization. HR must now understand how the organization truly operates and makes money. How would your HR department fair in a client meeting? Would they add value to a clients’ understanding of how your business is distinct because of your people?
In the next article we will explain the next three steps.
- Succession Plan and Anticipate the Future
- Measure HR’s Contribution
- Link Training and Learning to Real Business Mandates, Return On InvestmentCan not wait for Part Two of this article? Drop us a request, and we will send it over.Mark Goobie, Certified Human Resources Professional (CHRP)
Managing Partner, Braymark Services Inc.
Mark can be reached at 905.321-4178 or firstname.lastname@example.org