HR as a Strategic partner

Human Resources becoming a Strategic partner in your business?

A strategic business partner shares physical and intellectual resources to help solve problems and make decisions for other departments and organizationwide.

A logical way that HR professionals can become strategic business partners is by initiating and participating in succession planning.

Look at this scenario: If there is a need, the department head contacts human resources and the practitioner is relied upon for their expertise, or

Departments want to be in charge of their own workforce/ succession planning and they only see human resources in rather an administrative advisor role.

HR needs to start the workforce/succession planning conversation in order to move forward in becoming a full-fledged strategic business partner. It is necessary to use human resource analytics appropriately.

HR colleagues largely lack analytic and crossfunctional skills.

HR practitioners need most now and in the future, is analytical and cross-functional business skills. To truly serve as strategic business partners and offer data-based solutions to problems, human resources professionals need to understand the objectives of the other business units in their organizations.

Concluding on economic and labor situations, you all continue to debate with regards to the importance and purpose of human resources.

Where does HR today really stand in the business landscape today?

Any progress yet in its quest to be a strategic business partner?

We have been talking with megaphones for quite some time, now ….

Though majority of HR functions today have become significantly important elements of the business today, room for improvement still exists.

A strategic business partner as a department shares physical and intellectual resources to help solve problems and make decisions for other departments and organizationwide.

It’s a challenge for HR becoming a strategic business partner. Sometimes, your business may not have a comprehensive strategic plan! HR practitioners need management support for becoming more involved in decision making and plan implementation.

Many HR professionals would be inclined to think that their function contributes substantially and positively to business goals.

However, according to a report by SilkRoad, HR still faces many challenges which are blocking the function from aligning talent management with the overall company strategy.

Topping the list of challenges in the report was a lack of technology (45%), followed by lack of presence at the table when business decisions are being made (34%).

Shrinking HR budgets (31%), difficulty developing partnerships across teams (31%), and a lack of support from the executive team (20%) rounded up the top five challenges being faced by HR executives today.

“It’s time for action and new ideas that can strengthen HR’s contributions to business success and clarify those contributions to others,” the report stated.

“Start with a C-level mindset: think strategically, plan deliberately, and maintain a business outlook.”

The report included six steps which it identified as key to successfully aligning business strategy with talent management strategy.

Find your starting point

Locate your starting point by assessing where your organisation’s HR function stands within these four levels – Explorer, Influencier, Leader, and Visionary.

  1. Compliance-driven HR explorer
  2. Process-centered HR influencer
  3. Strategic HR leader
  4. HR visionary.

Identify strategic priorities

  • Identify strategic priorities by uncovering your company’s direction & goals
  • Identify the business drivers which HR needs to support

Know your talent risks

Identify the talent risks in your succession plan. You have to know the gaps between the talent you have today and what you’ll need tomorrow in order to successfully support your company’s business goals.

Get feedback

HR professionals should aim to move from ad-hoc meetings to regular, scheduled evaluation sessions to evaluate HR effectiveness.

Should gather feedback from other heads of departments and c-suite professionals in order to redirect your course and correct your strategy when you find not getting the desired results.

Integrate your technology

Internal HR data is a strategic business asset

  • You need to be able to gain insight across the full range of talent management function to be viewed strategically
  • As a driver of business outcomes

Have an integrated talent management system

  • Aanalyzing workforce data in a more strategic way
  • Discover relationships between leadership and performance or retention and learning.

Measure and report value 

HR organizations at all levels—from “explorers” to “visionaries”—need to demonstrate their contributions to business success.

With effective use of metrics, analytics, and reporting, gain stronger executive support faster to accomplish your strategic initiatives.

Look into increasing the productivity of employees to make up for shortage of Talents today.

HR leaders want to use data more effectively is in performance management, followed by workforce planning and talent acquisition.

One aspect in which they would want to use data more effectively is in managing the performance of their employees (62%).

Reliable and actionable performance data provides valuable insights into questions about the workforce:

  • What’s the profile of a high-potential employee?
  • What are the key success factors for employees?

Real-time performance metrics is being used to align employees with the business strategy, so that they know what they have to do to reach company goals.

HR professionals look for data for a sharp picture of employees’ capabilities and company resources, for addressing skills gaps, predict future needs, and develop hiring strategies.

HR needs to start the workforce/succession planning conversation.

Public sector HR practitioners estimated that 20% or more of the employees at their organisations will retire within the next five years.

However, only half of survey respondents reported that their own organization has a workforce/succession plan.

Who’s in charge – of course, human resources nominally in charge of the plan.

Whereas, other department heads actually lead the charge at most organizations, determining on their own whether their departments need workforce/succession planning services from HR practitioners.

Join us if you want to know more on strategic partnership. At Pathfinders, we have forums for discussing and debating such topics.


Suresh Shah, Pathfinders Enterprise

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