In what ways does HR now function as a strategic business partner?

Marina Konchak, SPHR
Marina Konchak, SPHR
Talent Director, Store Talent Division, R2
J.C. Penney Company, Inc.
Voces open quoteAsk yourself, “Do you create value in the markets or business units you serve and does that value have a direct impact on quantifiable business objectives?” HR professionals are no longer administrative support staff who process transactions related to employees. The days of an HR leader being a people person with soft skills have long passed. There are no soft skills, there is only business acumen. Every decision, plan, or process has to be aligned with the core business strategy. As a true business partner, HR must be able to add value to the organization’s overall strategic objectives by employing a shared mind-set and accountability to key performance indicators. The focus has shifted from what HR does to what they deliver. Simply stated, the bar has been raised. To add value, HR must innovate and continue to step outside of traditional roles and proactively seek out opportunities to learn the business we support. To participate and contribute in business discussions, HR business partners must not only ensure smooth systems and processes, but consider the strategic impacts of talent and organization choices. It is all about creating and delivering value aligned with the organization’s objectives. HR leaders must first be strategic business partners who just happen to manage the most valuable assets of the organization—its human capital. Voces close quote

Eddy Rojas_1_web
Eddy Rojas
HR Director
Senior Flexonics

Eddy Rojas
HR Director
Senior Flexonics

Voces open quoteThe easy answer is: in multiple ways. However, I will break that down and tell you where I feel our value has the most strategic impact. This may seem obvious since the “human” element is involved in every phase of an organization, but strong HR professionals know that they have to learn intricacies and key aspects of a situation or function in order to become a “go-to” source.

Once an HR professional has learned the business, the players, and the future business goals, I believe the main impact area, which makes HR professionals a strategic partner, is talent management. In all phases—recruitment, training, development, retention, and performance planning—human resources plays a vital role in fulfilling strategic goals. Voces close quote


Carlos Valdes Headshot_web
Carlos Valdes
HR Director
Comcast Cable
Voces open quoteHR’s transformation over the years from administrative cost center to strategic business partner continues to evolve, but one thing is certain—there is no turning back. Today’s HR strategic partner not only has gained a seat at the table with the major decision makers of an organization, but also assumes a prominent role as a chief advisor in the organizational structure of a company. This transformation began when HR demonstrated that its value did not exist solely to serve itself, but rather to help the company grow and remain profitable. Everything HR does must provide value to the organization’s strategic objectives. In other words—HR’s goals must be the same as the business’s goals. HR is in the people business and everyone agrees the most critical factor to an organization’s success is its people. That is why today’s HR strategic business partner looks at talent management as strategic imperative number one. Acquiring top talent is the first step. Reducing the time needed for new employees to become productive through effective on-boarding and training is also essential. But, the one talent-related area I see as having the most potential for fostering a positive business-partner relationship is succession planning. When key positions in an organization are open and not being filled—the business and its bottom line suffers. Successful HR business partners lead the effort to develop a long-term strategy to ensure continuous development and retention of its key employees and potential successors.
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Vanessa Vidal (HeadShot 2012)_1_web
Vanessa Vidal
President
ESQ Recruiting
Voces open quoteIn today’s economic context, HR can no longer be a reactive offstage function whose aim is to respond to a given business situation. Strategic HR is the realization that HR has to play a more significant and proactive role in the strategic goals and objectives of an organization. HR departments are recognized as strategic partners within an organization when they fully understand its business. Run HR like a business, and take a position on strategic issues.Strategic HR departments understand their organization’s business, how the money flows, and what drives growth and profitability. They also run their departments like a business by thinking about what would best serve the overall business, and by proactively contributing to the development and accomplishment of the organization-wide business plan and objectives. They build partnerships with internal and external customers. They develop human-resource programs with long-term objectives, and increase employee productivity by focusing on business obstacles that occur outside of human resources. Finally, they come up with and share ideas on how to help people in the organization meet their goals and contribute to the overall business plan. Voces close quote