Like me, you have probably read some of the recent opinions on the demise of the HR function. I personally think they unnecessarily propagate doom and gloom. For me, effective HR comes down to being an effective “business consultant”. I read the term recently in a Deloitte University Press article on Human Capital Trends1 and instantly liked it. A business consultant is someone who helps a company grow and maintain profitability. It’s similar, but different, from the traditional HR business partner. Perhaps the difference is semantics, but maybe it’s also enough of a difference to reflect on what the business needs from HR.
How often do you hear Finance or IT departments yearning about how they would like to be a “strategic partner”? They don’t, they just do it. In a recent SHRM (Society for Human Resources Management) poll in the U.S., “more than six out of ten HR professionals agreed that their head of HR was strongly involved in business decisions at the board level”2. Let’s stop wasting our energy on this, and agree HR is at the table, and move forward. HR gains a trusted business consultant role when we stop the HR “speak” and use the business “speak”. We gain the business speak, by understanding the business model (BFF the head of finance!) and forging strong relationships with the business’ leadership team and CEO.
As business consultants we must demonstrate unfailing expertise in the 5 – C’s of business consulting:
- Providing Credible people leadership to the company, with an emphasis on the “human” versus the “capital” side of human capital.
- Building a Collaborative company culture.
- Leveraging the uniqueness of the company Culture. Doing what is right for the company.
- Influencing appropriate Change management at the organizational level.
- Knowing what Customers, want from the business.
And implementing a people plan that focuses on:
- Talent Management – recruitment, development and retention of key people.
- HR Service Delivery – enabling employees through effective systems, processes, and programs reflective of the company.
Focusing on these priorities will help ensure HR business consultants are successfully contributing to company growth and profitability and not dwelling on being sidelined. As Dave Ulrich recently and eloquently stated, “Don’t blow up HR, appreciate it and evolve it”.
Gord MacDonald is a senior HR consultant who runs his own HR practice, (GM HR Solutions). He is also Executive Consultant-HR Advisory, at The Talent Company. (http:/thetalent.co). He is a graduate of Concordia University and holds SRHR and GPHR designations. For any comments, he can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Deloitte University Press- Human Capital Trends 2014
- Society of Human Resource Management 2015 Priorities