Building strategic HR Alliances

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Jade Peter !
BCom (Honors in Organizational Psychology); B.Soc.Sci (Organizational Psychology); PGD-Human Resource Management
Chartered Human Resource Practitioner (South African Board of Personnel Practitioners)
Time for a change ?

The Human Resource Landscape Today !

Edited extracts from a recent article published on the HR Africa portal:

"One of the biggest challenges facing Human Resources managers is the dire need to re-position human resources' services so that they represent a strategic alliance with the other core business departments within the organisation.

The HR paradigm needs to shift in order for HR to strategically align with the business - which in turn will facilitate a change of business mindset about the value of HR. What is needed now is a guideline that spells out the way forward for HR and that describes the core elements of a 'strategic HR alliance'. This would provide at the very least, a benchmark against which embryonic HR partnerships can grow and develop.

Knowing the organisation's products and services does not enable strategic partnerships. It's knowing how and why the organisation does what it does, that enables HR to fully understand the nature of the business. The organisation's mission, vision and values; the business strategy; the business plan as well as the core business drivers need to be fully understood by HR. In addition, HR needs to gain an in-depth understanding of the organisation's value chain as a whole, as well as a solid understanding of each link within that chain. Without this comprehensive understanding of the business, HR will remain a peripheral player in the business game.

The only way to know what each department's needs are - is to ask. Proactively set about meeting with key stakeholders to discuss their needs, both current and future. HR needs to be proactive - in finding out departmental needs and deliberately planning solutions - with the business partners. To do that well, HR needs to be able to talk through business issues in a way that reflects a good understanding of not only the business but also the available HR solutions.

Empowerment and accountability are good words indeed, but they demand from HR practitioners a certain level of functioning that leads to the entitlement of credibility in a business sphere. The debate whether HR should be professionalised or not rages on, but certainly there is a dire need for HR standards. The truth is self-evident - HR needs to provide organisations with a professional service. Organisations need to demand that HR practitioners are able to meet the challenge of building - and maintaining - a strategic HR alliance with their business units.

It is clear that the ideal HR business partnership is still a way off for some organisations. The time is right for HR practitioners to take a long, hard look at the way HR is positioned within their organisations and use these guidelines to start the metamorphosis that will lead HR out of the back-office and into the Boardroom.

Janine Nieuwoudt
Managing Director
BMT Dimensions"


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