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Saturday, July 28, 2012

HR as a Business Partner

Every once in a while I come across an article that says HR deserves their ‘spot at the table’… And typically comes off as self-absorbed and/or whiny.

Maybe I’m wrong, but I think HR is there already, aren't we?

More and more I hear the term ‘HR Business Partner’ in place of 'Generalist' and I think this is a reflection of this shift, and would seem to reflect that we are at the table – Business Partner sounds good to me, definitely ahead of the 80's term of 'Personell' don't you think?

But why be happy with just being at the table?

Most organizations are customer facing and this involves people – so rather than sitting at the table, HR should have no shortage of contributions to the discussion.

To do this, I think back to the classic SWOT analysis from business school.

A SWOT analysis at a basic level helps to identify areas of weakness and potential threats to the organization - no reason HR can't utilize this methodology.

But in doing so, be honest and realistic in your assessment of possible weaknesses and threats.

It just makes more sense to be realistic now than having to play catch-up later. When considering the opportunities, take a look at what is occurring today as well as what could occur in the near future – this is your time to be creative (within means)!

One area I like to look at annually is where the biggest issues were:

For example:

- Employee relations – What was the root cause?
- Health & Safety
- New legislation
- New company policy/practice
- Succession concerns/uncertainty

This list isn’t all-inclusive but makes for a decent starting point. If you can look at your weaknesses and potential threats, this will allow you to lead the discussion and to be more involved… even better if you can quantify some of these!

The point I am trying to make is this – HR, we are at the table; we have been invited. But what did you bring?

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