Strategic HR Professionals Are Key to Business Success
by Alyssa Leonas, SPHR, PHR-CA, SHRM-SCP
According to Deloitte, a global consulting firm, “Organizations that implement business-embedded human resources typically deliver higher levels of business performance and are far more likely to achieve positive business goals.”
We continue to hear about the importance of HR focusing on and aligning with the business, but what does that really mean and why is it so important?
In short, HR and business acumen combine to provide an incredibly potent tool for ongoing success. By understanding the inner workings of the company and the external forces that could potentially impact the business, HR professionals can partner with other organizational leaders and guide the business toward a bright future.
It is critical that HR leaders understand the business’s mission, vision, and values. HR professionals need to know who the organization’s key stakeholders are and how each of them perceives value. HR leaders must also understand how the organization competes and in which stage of the business life cycle the organization resides. With this understanding, HR becomes a powerful weapon in support of the business strategy.
One tool business-savvy HR personnel use to help their companies is an environmental scan. This tool takes into account various external forces such as demographics, economics, environmental influences, politics, social issues, international climate, and technological advances. After identifying general trends in each of these areas, HR applies them to the organization to determine how to adjust strategy to best position the organization for the future.
A SWOT analysis is another common tool. It consists of identifying the business’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. The strengths and weaknesses are internal organizational factors, while opportunities and threats are external forces that shape the market and the organization’s competition. Applying this information makes the HR function a key player in success. For example, with this knowledge, HR can help an organization remain viable following the decline phase of its life cycle by evolving in keeping with a changing market.
When HR leaders have a clear understanding of the business and translate business strategies into people-focused initiatives, they are fulfilling the role of the HR Business Partner (HRBP). In the HRBP role, HR adds value to the business and is one of the most strategic roles in the organization. To strengthen your strategic contribution in your HR role, consider MSEC’s HR Business Partner Program, a three-month applied learning program for strategic HR professional development. To request information, please contact HRBP@msec.org.