HR is essential for business success

20 May

As I was reviewing recent “Answers” on Linked In, I came across one that inspired this post.  An HR pro had posted a question asking what others would recommend as focus areas when starting or reviving HR in an organization.  An Operations Manager had answered the question by saying “None”, and going on to clarify that it sounded like the organization was smaller and therefore wouldn’t actually need a Full Time HR person, so they should probably simply contract out for services. 

Now first, let me say, there are a lot of services that I think it makes sense to contract out at times.  However, I also think that even in a smaller organization, having a dedicated HR professional helping to develop strategy and people practices is essential to success.  The unfortunate thing is that many managers don’t understand the full value of HR and what a true HR leader can bring to the organization.  There could be many reasons for this, including perhaps only having experience with non-strategic HR administrators.  In a world where change is the only constant, and companies are emerging from recession, the old days of HR as a service or administrative function are in the past.  Having a strong strategic HR partner dedicated to your business is critical.

Some examples of the value a true strategic HR professional can bring to an organization:

  • In changing times, HR pros become change agents – they work with leaders to develop the strategy for the change, how to accomplish the change, how to engage employees in the change to ensure it is sustainable
  • HR works with C-suite leaders to determine the capabilities needed to drive the organization’s strategy.  They are the experts in evaluating and developing talent, and can help leaders make decisions to ensure the right talent is getting the right develoment in order to reach the organization’s goals.
  • HR will lead the sustainability and/or change of the organization’s culture.  They will examine all areas of people processes and practices that help to communicate culture, and work with leaders to ensure all are aligned and delivering the right messages.
  • For companies looking to expand into new or emerging markets, HR will help you determine how to source and develop talent in these new markets, and how to ensure the best parts of your culture are maintained.
  • On a more basic level, HR will help to ensure your people practices are legislatively compliant, reducing risk to the organization.

I could go on (and on), but I would love to hear from others – what other value do you think strategic HR professionals add to an organization, or do you disagree?  Comment here or tweet to me at


Posted by on May 20, 2011 in Human Resources


Tags: , , ,

4 responses to “HR is essential for business success

  1. Karen

    May 20, 2011 at 5:37 pm

    I totally agree! HR is, or was, often overlooked as a strategic partner. HR can provide valuable insight to the employee workforce. While business leaders often focus on the numbers, and with good reason, HR will look at the people impact who will be required to do the work.

    Maybe because I am HR I am passsionate about this topic but I have worked in organizations where HR is a major player, and ones where it is not. The companies where it is a player, are most successful in business!

    • Hearts and Minds

      May 21, 2011 at 10:09 am

      Absolutely and the HR strategy and people practices have massive impact on the numbers! Thanks for commenting Karen!

  2. HRCrowd

    May 22, 2011 at 11:18 am

    HR is still overlooked by many – we are seen as admin focussed and often do not get involved in people strategy until the damage has been done. “HR will sort it out” – a well worn phrase Managers love to repeat.

    HR can improve the bottom line as well as add value to organizations. The list goes on and on…. but can HR truly add value if they are not part of the leadership team?

    HR professionals must challenge these old fashioned views but personal credibility must also play its part. The credible leader is one who is willing to share acquired knowledge, encourage open communication and idea sharing.

    From your example, my first strategy would be to challenge the Operations Manager on Linkedin who said “none” and change his views!

    Great post!

    • Hearts and Minds

      May 22, 2011 at 12:38 pm

      Great points! All HR professionals must work to change these perceptions. And we have to challenge each other when we are caught doing reactive, non-strategic tasks that perpetuate them. Thanks for the excellent comments!


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