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HR is often incorrectly perceived as simply involved in the facilitation of “people processes” such as filling new job openings and staying compliant with employment law. As an HR professional, you certainly realize there is far more to your role than that perception. However I hear from many HR professionals that their leadership team doesn't value HR or progressive HR solutions.
So who should go first to change this perception of HR's value? I think it is incumbent upon the HR professional to communicate with, educate, and demonstrate to peers, managers, and business leaders the full value and significance of HR within the organization.
Changing Perceptions. At the very least, you want to be certain you are adding value to your clients within the organization with every interaction. You also want to make sure that you understand the overall business, including top priorities and initiatives. Take it a step further and ensure that you understand the HR implications of the business priorities and make your leaders and clients aware of the implications as well as the solutions that you have developed to address these situations.
As an invaluable link in the organizational chain, you are a strategic HR business partner within your company. Practice the following three traits at each and every opportunity to help demonstrate the full value of your role and help change any false perceptions.
Confidence – Remain confident in your abilities to add value to the organization from an HR perspective, especially when interfacing with senior management. Speak up, professionally and confidently and be able to clearly and concisely articulate the HR point of view(s) given any business situation.
Managerial Courage – Have the courage required to ask the tough questions when you interface with senior management and others within your business. It may not be easy to speak up or to disagree with your managers, leaders, and/or peers, but it can be necessary and required at times. If you are truly an HR business partner your clients will listen to you and respect you for speaking up even if your perspective is unpopular.
Coaching – Never miss an opportunity to educate and help shape your management and/or your peers thought processes and perspectives. This can bring tremendous value to both the individuals and to the organization as well. An example of this might be something as simple as explaining the connection between succession planning and individual employee development opportunities and how this benefits both an individual and the company.
Your contribution to the organization is not just a tactical action such as managing the hiring process or handling a difficult employee situation. As we discussed above HR plays an important strategic role in both the growth and success of the company as well as in the development of its talent. Unfortunately many business leaders have never experienced an HR department that functions in that way. Utilizing the above suggestions will help you provide much value to your organization and also become an effective and trusted HR business partner as well.
Other HR professionals as well as management team members would appreciate hearing how you contribute within your business as an HR business partner. Please comment here and share your success stories! And as always call us if we can help you increase HR's perceived value at your organization.