Where do we fit in the big picture?
To become a strategic partner, human resources professionals need to understand the business beyond our little domain. We need to be “big picture” people and understand our business’s objectives and how HR can help meet those objectives.
Strategic management focuses on building a solid underlying structure to your business. This structure can then be fleshed out through the combined efforts of every individual you employ.
To be strategic you must be able to answer several questions:
- What are my business’s objectives?
- What are the best ways to achieve those objectives?
- What resources are required to make that happen?
Human resources professionals need to know the answers to these questions, and need to be able to help their organizations succeed. For a lot of organizations, answering the first question requires serious thought about what the ultimate goals are for the business. These organizations know what they do (e.g. manufacture cars), but may not realize what their objective is.
A human resources professional can help an organization uncover its core objectives by taking it through an exercise to develop the organization’s mission statement. A mission statement can help the organization get a clearer picture of its role. The organization will also need assistance developing a vision statement, and short- and long-term goals. In order for the HR professional to be successful in this endeavor, we must understand the business. HR needs to know how to read a financial statement. We also need to understand how all the separate departments of an organization fit together.
Another important step is to develop a plan to help the organization accomplish its goals. Human resources can assist an organization in setting its goals by conducting a needs assessment, and then placing the individual with the right knowledge, skills and abilities in the place where that experience can help the organization meet its goals. Once that is done, then the responsibilities for processes and tasks should be distributed across the organization so that the organization’s goals can be attained through the combined efforts of all employees. Human resources can also assist by communicating responsibilities and deliverables (what needs to be done, and how the results of those tasks will be measured).
Human resources can play an integral part in an organization’s strategic management plan. We need to command credibility within our organizations and be flexible. This flexibility can enable our organizations to move quickly in response to new challenges, and to replace outmoded ideas and practices with processes that can help meet new needs as they present themselves.
HR Florida is prepared to help you become a more strategic partner for your organization. HR Florida’s 2010 Annual Conference will have over 70 concurrent sessions to provide you with the information you need for your professional growth. This annual conference attracts the best speakers from around the nation to share the latest on compensation strategies, risk management, legislative updates, strategic management and much more! The dates are August 30 – September 1. We are back at the beautiful Rosen Shingle Creek in Orlando. Last year this event attracted over 1,200 human resources professionals throughout Florida representing virtually every industry. Don’t miss this opportunity to network in our exhibit hall with over 170 leading providers of HR-related products and services.
I look forward to seeing you at the conference!
Kitty L. Fields, PHR, CPM
HR Florida State Council, Inc.