HR’s Viability & Role in Business Strategy

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Human Resources management in recent years has fought to be seen as a vital determinant of the business. In addition, executive leadership along with board of directors’ decision on what HR actually brings to the table in regard to strategic business planning and organization has begun to reconsider the concept of HR being a high-level paper pusher but due to recent changes in employment law, the necessity for HR is imperative now more than ever. Today’s workforce is no longer a collection of the traditional employee but that of diversity, innovation, uniqueness, advanced technology and the urge towards corporate/social responsibility. Businesses, as well as major corporations, must provide strategic goals, objectives, mission, vision, and values along with an effective change in how to permit the new role of HR management within the scope.

Perception of HR in Business

HR perception in the past has shone dimly of actuality on the role of the HR professional. Due to a myriad of reasons such as lack of vision, related education, business acumen, experience, specific policy, strategic focus, and effective HR senior leadership has caused HR to be viewed negatively as a waste of labor hours. What may account for this perception is the human resources role within organizations in the past by senior executive management, human resources were known (and still is) as a paper pusher of company rules and is only around for hiring, firing, and handling complex issues regarding employee relations. Senior management’s direction placed on those in human resources is also the reason for the perception, when employment is low then they ask, what function is human resources serving, but when the need for staffing is high, then the tune changes and the role of human resources within strategic business and objectives is necessary. Those in senior management need to know how they want human resources to be included in business and organizational strategic planning so that the role and area of expertise are understood, in addition, responsibilities to both employees and the organization are well defined. The beginning includes reexamining the vision and mission of the company while also discovering what aspect HR will contribute for the organizational accomplishments beyond recruitment, staffing, termination, and utilizing the myriad of talent that human resources possess.

HR professionals bringing a new perspective with a bold mission for the organization is a great place to begin in how the change in perception revitalizes the role of HR because, in today’s workforce, diversity and organizational culture are one of the many roles of HR. The workforce of today requires HR displaying its focus areas/disciplines and distributing how much they impact the organization, especially with massive attention on workplace diversity, is a complex issue that requires more concentration on the employees within the organization in addition to a workplace policy that embraces differences within the talent community. HR professionals are frontline communicators leading the organization’s standard of operations inappropriate employee behavior, and respect for others but also involves management fully understanding employment laws and ethical employment practices.

Ensuring a steady comprehension of the company’s business and organizational goals along with being increasingly knowledgeable of current employment laws and regulations that assist in governing the company along with necessary training of managers and supervisors. Providing flexibility with communication and also taking the time to get to know employees and their goals is another method of revitalizing the perception of HR.

In regard to the changes that HR has gone through, some companies still utilize the department as executive secretary liaisons between the employees and management; however, this perception has dampened HR due to those in the department not really understanding how to address employees during challenging employment issues.

HR’s Road to Recovery

Recent research by business writers and HR professionals have begun to explain the lack of purpose attitude for the HR department as well as how HR can implement certain changes to reclaim its seat at the management table strategically.

Peter Cappelli, Harvard Business Review author of ‘Why We Love to Hate HR… & What HR Can Do About It’ addresses what HR can do to demonstrate why they exist and their importance to a company such as their counter departments and to reduce the hate employees may feel against HR. Cappelli suggested the following to create a stronger and relevant HR:

  • “Set the agenda.
  • Focus on issues that matter in the here and now.
  • Acquire business knowledge.
  • Highlight financial benefits.
  • Walk away from time wasters” (Cappelli, 2015).

Susan Heathfield, author of ‘The 3 New Roles of the Human Resources Professional’ explains that now HR has positioned itself with additional roles within the business that are strategic in implementing necessary changes. Heathfield states that “Successful organizations are becoming more adaptive, resilient, quick to change direction and customer-centered” (Heathfield, 2017). Academic human resources management courses that encourage business students and future HR practitioners to become more business oriented and customer-oriented in servicing both internal and external customers assists in preparation for revitalizing the role of HR. By adopting this new persona of the HR professional, businesses that influence this type of organizational behavior start within the culture of the business while also maintaining senior leadership that manages how HR should be represented within the organization. HR as a strategic business partner is evident organizations such as Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM) providing resources and tools for HR professionals to go beyond their basic expertise and set up with learning skills that align with the organization. A strategic business partner impacts important business decisions that influence labor costs, marketing, financing in regard to organizational budget, and career-specific management programs. HR as the employee advocate is being revitalized to supply assistance to employees professional and personal concerns that impact job performance. Employee advocate within HR as a game changer permits employees to discover what the multitalented department can accomplish when connecting with employee issues that concern them while aligning HR focus areas to better serve the employee. Recovering the HR professional purpose is to “create a work environment in which people will choose to be motivated, contributing and happy” (Heathfield, 2017, para 7). The HR professional is there to incorporate organizational culture in addition to providing expert advice to management and employees regarding their business relationship with the organization. HR profession as a specific change innovator is quickly on the rise within the organization. HR reinventing the customer-oriented aspect while adding creative methods in initialing necessary changes in regard to mission, vision, organizational culture, employment practices, values, beliefs, and progressive programs to continue positive change reception from the overall organization.

The imminent requirement for a change in perception is connected to HR’s viability and role within the business.

The role of HR is imperative and continues beyond recruitment, staffing, and firing employees but the plan in which businesses want to utilize the vast knowledge within the HR role depend on senior executive management and key stakeholders as well as the strategic approach within the organization. Reexamination of HR within the organization impacts the business approach. HR now has the resources, tools, and strategic roadmap to be taken seriously within the business objectives by aligning human resources goals with that of the organization to rebirth a stronger and more business relevant department that supersedes the expectation and perception of their peers. The imminent requirement for a change in perception is connected to HR’s viability and role within the business.

Sources:

Heathfield, S. (August 2017). The Balance: The 3 New Roles of the Human Resources professional Retrieved on January 16, 2018, from https://www.thebalance.com/the-new-roles-of-the-human-resources-professional-1918352

Cappelli, P. (July-August 2015). Harvard Business Review: Why We love to Hate HR. What HR Can Do About It Retrieved on December 27, 2017, from https://hbr.org/2015/07/why-we-love-to-hate-hr-and-what-hr-can-do-about-it

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