How to Truly Align HR to the Business

Document created by 1053991 on May 19, 2015
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rick washburn.jpgWe hear and read about this all of the time.  It has become a cliché to say that we must align the human resources function to the business.  What else would one align HR to?  This raises two key questions:


  • What does it actually mean to align HR to the business?
  • What are the value added skills that differentiate a strategic HR business partner that aligns HR to the business from that of a “traditional” HR leader?


What does it actually mean to align HR to the business?


Simply stated, most organizations today have business plans in place to achieve certain profit objectives.  These plans are developed with specific measurable elements and objectives as well as key financial metrics that are important to the business. These may include:

  • Customer satisfaction
  • Increased revenue per customer
  • Creating new revenue streams
  • Growth by acquisition
  • Organic growth strategy
  • Quality at any cost
  • Low cost provider
  • Global expansion to expand market share
  • Topline revenue growth
  • Increased profit margins

HR creates value and aligns to the business only by first completely understanding each key driver of the business and identifying the HR implications to each driver.  HR also needs to understand where the organization is going, and skills and competencies that are needed to get there.  For example, if the organization’s growth strategy is designed around acquisitions, then HR needs to understand what the HR elements and processes are to adding value to the deal in all phases of an acquisition (pre: due diligence, day 1 actions, and post transaction assimilation).  Also, HR needs to ensure that the organization possesses the appropriate skills across the entire business to successfully acquire new entities (finance, business development, treasury, R&D, operations, etc.).   Each of these functional areas has a unique role in the acquisition process but must work as one integrated unit in order to ensure success.


What are the value added skills that differentiate a strategic HR business partner that aligns HR to the business from that of a “traditional” HR leader?

Today’s HR leader must be a business partner (HRBP) and trusted advisor to the business.  In addition to possessing a strong business acumen, today's HRBP is required to possess these critical skills:

  • Ability to build strong relationships with key business leaders and other stakeholders
  • Possessing a strategic view
  • Ability to execute flawlessly
  • Understanding the basics of finance principals
  • Change management skills including strong diagnostic and analytical skills
  • Managerial courage
  • Anticipate needs; be proactive, not re-active
  • Building organizational capability through people (Talent Management)

To learn more how you can add increased value and start aligning your HR function to your business plan call Tom Sheehan or Rick Washburn on the CAI Advice & Resolution team.   Both Tom and Rick have an abundance of experience in this area and would be glad to help you take the next few steps in this critically important process.