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Becoming-the-Best-HR-Business-Partner-You-Can-Be

Becoming the Best HR Business Partner You Can Be

How the Strategic HR Business Partner certification programme may be the best thing you can do for your career

This is an interview with Ron Thomas about the value of the Strategic HR Business Partner certification  The qualification (the SHRBP) is offered by the Human Capital Institute, where Ron is a senior faculty teaching this course, among many others.

In a nutshell, what do you see the sHRBP (Strategic HR Business Partner) qualification equipping HR professionals with?

Ron ThomasRon : This course is designed to change the mindset of an HR professional.  It gives them the skills and tools to view their new focus as a strategic partner.  They learn how to align their activities with the strategy of the organisation.

Their focus should be on alignment, both organisationally and departmentally, depending on their in-house model of HRBP.

Why is there a focus on building financial and analytic capability in the HR leader in this programme?

Ron : A business partner means just that.  Do you understand the business your organisation is in?  Do you understand the financials and where your organisation stands?  What are the major revenue drivers, products and strategic focus?  In order to answer those questions, you must understand the business.  Business acumen is a top competency according to SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management) for the “New” HR professional.

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What do you believe it takes to build a Talent Scorecard that will align key talent metrics to your business objectives?

Ron : HR focus is on talent in this new age.  With that laser focus, you are concerned with what you are measuring and whether it aligns with the strategic focus of the organisation.  Whether it is turnover, engagement, the leadership pipeline or learning and development, understand what the gaps are.

Business acumen is a top competency according to SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management) for the “New” HR professional.

Additionally, how do you plan to close those gaps?  Most importantly, as you develop your scorecard, make sure there is a high correlation to the strategy of the organisation.  The stronger the alignment, the more impact you have.

What do you suggest as two things HR leaders can do today, to strengthen their financial literacy?

Ron : Some of the questions I ask during this class are:

  • How many of you read your industry magazines or websites?
  • How many of you watch the business news?
  • How many of you read the business section of the newspaper?

If your answers are not positive in this regard, all these initiatives can be undertaken and you should do them as a self-development project.  For the most part, there is no cost involved and your value will increase the more you understand the business you are in.

Engagement, collaboration and retention – they have transformed from nice benefits to “must have” business drivers. Why have these elements, in particular, become much more critical in today’s workplace and what happens to the business that is not so successful in implementing these elements?

Ron : Engagement, collaboration and retention are all related to the business in a financial sense.  Companies that get high marks on all of these have the finances to back it up.  There has to be alignment in showing the business case behind it.  Low engagement equals lower productivity.  High unwanted retention is a drain on any company’s finances as well as talent.  Low collaboration can have a direct effect on innovation.  These are all business case issues.

Firstly, develop a business mindset so that you know your business and your industry.  That makes you more credible when speaking to non-HR folks or the senior team.

HR needs to develop the narrative around these three pillars, show how a lack in any of these can be detrimental to the business and provide a plan to close the gap.

When does transparency become a burden for a leader? How much information is too much?

Ron : While transparency is important, there is always information that, if found, could compromise the strategic focus of an organisation.  That being said, an organisation should always be open with their employees.  In the end, we hire adults and we must never make decisions that can be viewed a favouritism or cronyism.  GE has a promotion filter built in so that all promotions must be presented to a peer group to discuss why a given person should go on to the next level.  This openness makes it a fairer process as opposed to the closed door process.

What do you believe are the three important steps a HR leader should take to hone their influencing skills?

Ron : Firstly, develop a business mindset so that you know your business and your industry.  That makes you more credible when speaking to non-HR folks or the senior team. Secondly, develop story-telling skills.  How do you tell a story that revolves around retention or low engagement scores so that it gets the listeners to understand the business impact? Lastly, think about the most dreadful consequences that could derail any presentation to your senior team? Then consider how you arrived at that conclusion as well as the numbers you have to back that up. Always keep that in mind as you are presenting or discussing business issues with your leadership team.

Ron Thomas has been cited by CIPD as one of the top five HR thinkers in the MENA region, Ron Thomas MHCS SWP GHCS is Managing Director at Strategy Focused Group – MENA based in Dubai. Ron was formerly CEO, Great Place to Work Gulf and the former CHRO for the RGTS Group in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. A senior faculty member of the Human Capital Institute (HCI), he holds HCI certification as a Master Human Capital Strategist (MHCS) and Strategic Workforce Planner (SWP). He has held senior level positions within Xerox HR Services, IBM and Martha Stewart Living. Board memberships include the Harvard Business Review Advisory Council, McKinsey Quarterly Executive Online Panel and HCI’s Expert Advisory Council on Talent Management Strategy. Read Ron’s articles.

Ron will be running HCI’s strategic HR Business Partner (sHRBP) certification course in December 2016 in Kuala Lumpur.

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