HR’s Top Priority for 2016 – Engaging all of HR to be true Business Partners
I predict that 2016 will continue to be a period of change and transformation for Human Resources functions. This is true across organizations of all sizes, industries and business models. I have been an HR and Talent professional for over 20 years; during this time I have worked with some of the top organizations around the globe, across many different industries. I can confidently say that 2015 has been one of the busiest years for all of our four Advisory Practices (HR, Leadership Development, Recruitment, and Total Rewards) since our inception 8 years ago.
Organizations are continuing to come out of the economic slowdown. We are finding that with many of our clients their business’s expectations of their Human Resources team has increased and evolved. Whether HR likes it or not, the “bar” is set higher now for HR to meet the business’s expectations within their organizations. The current reality within most organizations is that HR is still struggling for additional headcount to be allocated to their function to meet the increased demands from the business. Unfortunately, the business isn’t interested in hearing how HR is stretched so thin these days, with limited resources, and their demands are only going to grow in the years ahead. HR needs to ensure their function is fully optimized, not just in terms of resourcing but also in skills and competencies.
So as an HR professional, focus on what the business needs versus what you think they should want. Prioritize HR’s focus for 2016. Don’t try and boil the ocean………select the critical initiatives that will have the greatest positive impact on the business and focus on them. Don’t try and tackle everything at once, have a plan for 2016 and ensure the business is in complete alignment with the plan. For the plan to succeed, the business needs to buy-in to the “why” of the plan and be surrounded by effective business partners who execute the plan alongside the business.
For HR to step up to meet the business needs in 2016, this is an opportunity for HR to re-engage itself with the business and develop their HR resources to be more effective as true Business Partners in their roles regardless of their specialization within the HR function. It shouldn’t matter if your HR resources are specialists or generalists, if they are managers or coordinators, if they are in Total Rewards or in Recruitment or Talent. Every role within an HR function should be focused as a Business Partner in the way they work.
I partner with a number of Colleges and Universities across North America on improving the content in their Human Resources program curriculum geared towards educating students of HR. Unfortunately very few of the HR programs I have encountered had any content geared towards teaching students of HR on being an effective business partner. Most of the programs are geared towards learning the various specialty areas of focus within Human Resources but very little on the desired behaviours of a great HR business partner. The most successful HR professionals are effective business partners and if we want to elevate the function to the next level, we need to ensure all HR professionals are focused on being a true partner to the business.
Here are the top 4 steps to follow to become more effective as a true Business Partner within your role as an HR professional:
1 – Understand the Business
- Understand how your organization makes money.
- Understand the barriers the business faces when it comes to making more money in your organization.
- Listen and translate the business’s needs directly for your area of focus. Understand the part your role plays in reducing these barriers allowing the business to make more money.
2 – Be a Coach to the Business
- Business Partners focus on long-term relationship building rather than a specific transaction or project. Always be focused on the outcome – not simply the process.
- Don’t be a barrier, be an enabler. Enable your business to be successful. Be a Business Partner who works with the business on improving their effectiveness and being successful.
- Great Business Partners are always prepared. Be prepared to ask smart questions. Be prepared to challenge assumptions. Be prepared to apply your judgement. The business is buying your judgement, not just your time.
- Business Partners know how to read the “mood” of the business.
- “Trust” is the most critical aspect in the relationship you have with the business. Being known for your integrity is the most important factor in being a successful Business Partner.
3 – Be a Consultant to the Business
- Be an expert – recognize you are your organization’s expert in your HR area of focus. Invest in your own development to enhance your own expertise – know the market trends, what your competition and other industry leaders are doing within your HR area of focus. Network, network and network. It’s the best way to learn how trending practices are being successfully implemented.
- Business Partners always provide their customers with Value – your relationship with the business is never more stable than when your business trusts you completely to take care of them.
- Be accessible. A good Business Partner’s voice is comforting. They are easy to find. They promptly return calls and emails with a sense of urgency.
- Set realistic expectations with the business – don’t be all talk with no action.
4 – Don’t Be Afraid to Deliver Tough Messages to the Business
- The business hates unhappy surprises much more than timely bad news – don’t be afraid to be honest with the business.
- The business is NOT always right – don’t agree with the business just because they are your client. Always remember you are an expert within your role and the business needs to hear your message even if it won’t be popular.
Each of these steps are simple to state but actually pretty tough to successfully execute. The Talent Company provides a number of development and training programs for corporate HR teams including a program specifically focused on HR professionals becoming more effective business partners.
We work with organizations every day to help them prepare their HR, Talent, Recruitment and Total Rewards functions to be more effective in meeting the demands of their businesses. As an HR, Recruitment, Talent or Total Rewards professional, what are you doing to become a more effective Business Partner in 2016?
Simon Parkin is the Practice Leader for Recruitment, Talent and HR Solutions at The Talent Company – www.thetalent.co Simon is recognized as a global thought leader in the acquisition and management of talent and has successfully transformed the Talent function for organizations of all sizes. Simon works closely with clients to build, develop and innovate their Recruitment, Talent and HR functions. He is a former global leader of Recruitment and Talent for a Fortune 100 company. Simon is a featured speaker at a number of HR and Recruitment conferences across North America and an author of many acclaimed articles on innovative Recruitment, Talent and HR trends and best practices. Simon’s full profile can be found at http://ca.linkedin.com/in/simonparkin1
For more information on The Talent Company please visit us at www.thetalent.co