The role of the HR Business Partner is more than two decades old, yet few HR functions have managed to gain credibility as a function who makes a difference to the workplace and business.
This presentation outlines key areas that the strategic HR Business Partner can focus on to make a difference:
- The shocking stats that the majority of employees are still actively disengaged (despite all the efforts of HR) and that employees trust strangers more than their boss, tells us that HR’s key focus should be on developing leaders. HR studied people management and industrial psychology, the vast majority of leaders didn’t. HR is not responsible for employees, leaders are. If we abdicate people management to HR, leaders will miss an opportunity to build trust, gain credibility, and inspire. HR should do more on impacting the hearts and behaviour of leaders, and less on only focusing on knowledge (e.g. sending them for MBAs or conferences). Executive coaching has proven itself as the most valuable means of developing leaders as it makes learning relevant for the leader and leads to sustainable behaviour change. Imagine how much time will HR save on for example employee relations issues and recruitment for resignations if more focus was placed on having great leaders to enable great workplaces.
- HR should hold up a mirror and reflect on themselves. The best people to help them reflect, are HR’s key stakeholders. Leaders should be asked what they expect and perceive of HR’s contribution, and HR can gain tremendously by starting this conversation. Using the thinking of Dave Ulrich, HR should reflect not on what they ‘do’, but on what they ‘deliver’; and that value should be perceived by the ‘receiver’, and not the ‘giver’. By ensuring HR functions have the right people with the required passion and competencies, they can better support and enable leaders to attract, engage and retain talent, and ensure that people systems architecture and digitisation is an enabler.
- Digitisation of HR is the third key priority. Once this is done, HR can stop doing things manually that should long ago have been automated. This will drastically free up HR’s time to focus their attention on what will make a sustainable impact.
- HR should ask themselves if their business has to use them, or wants to use them. Lessons can be learnt from marketing and external consultants on how to package, present and market solutions and products and branding. HR can benefit greatly by understanding the ‘why’, ‘how’ and ‘what’ of their own role, contribution and products and then relaying this understanding to leaders and the rest of the business.
- HR should work interdependently with their stakeholders, and with other HR functions. This means to move out of a toxic triangle, into a place of interdependence where everyone works together to serve the greater good of people in the workplace.
View the presentation: What the Strategic HR Business Partner can do differently to make a difference
Closing presentation during the Knowledge Resources Conference in Johannesburg on 7 June 2018
by Liezel Pheiffer Blignaut (Founding Director. Human Capital Business Solutions)