HR Business Partner – fact, fiction and the new role of HR
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So why is understanding the new role of HR important?

Over the last fifteen years HR has been asked to ‘add value’ to their organisation whilst retaining its traditional focus of delivering efficiency.  We believe that this movement simply reflects an organisational tension that has been recognised by Organisational Design theorists for decades - the tension between the need to save costs (or deliver the best value for money) and increase revenues (or find new customers or old customers willing to pay more). 

Organisations need to balance these demands as those who have only one focus are at risk of either creating new offerings that no customers want to buy or being left with products that have been superseded in the market. 

However, tension arises as increasing revenues requires investment that comes with no guarantee of success (and is therefore not efficient).  CourageousHR call this tension the standardisation : customisation dynamic.

We believe that the emergence of the Business Aligned HR organisation structure, also known as the HR Business Partner structure, in the early 1990’s is a direct result of this standardisation : customisation dynamic.  Businesses simply started to recognise that their employees were not robots, were capable of innovation and creative thought, and needed professionals in HR to help draw that ‘value’ out.

Given that this is well in all organisations (profit/non-profit, corporate/government, small/large), the key question that HR has to ask itself is “why have HR leaders continued to focus on delivering the efficiency mandate e.g. through Shared Services, outsourcing and process mapping; and not the effectiveness (revenue) mandate?”.

Because we believe, the word ‘value’ is so highly emotive and means so many different things to different people, that it has become meaningless.

HR therefore needs to create a language that is linked to actions that both the business and HR can understand.  For CourageousHR, HRs ‘revenue’ mandate, which we call customisation, is linked to supporting businesses either create of modify its products and services in order to generate new revenues.

If you can’t communicate what needs to happen, you can’t measure it.  If you don’t measure it, you don’t value it.  If you don’t value it, you don’t do it.

Is it any wonder that HR continues to talk ‘value’ but deliver efficiency?

Want to know more?  Take this link HR Dynamic Operating Model.