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The Human Resources Executive: A Trusted Advisor Published: Sunday, March 6, 2005 By: Dr. Manuel Ángel Morales

Leaders and professionals of today prepared to confront the huge organizational challenges of the future are becoming knowledgeable about Human Resources practices, work and transformations. There is some recent wisdom about these developments and it includes four primary roles for Human Resources:

  • strategic partner
  • administrative expert
  • employee champion
  • change agent

Strategic partners make sure certain strategic plans are implemented, create balanced score cards for measuring business results, align HR plans to business plans, watch out for quick fixes that are ineffective, and create a capability focus within the organization. A key warning is that of avoiding certain practices that diminish the status and effectiveness of the HR function. Some examples are claiming to solve all the complex problems; claiming to help everyone; lacking fundamental knowledge and theoretical background; and working only to protect formal organizational power.

Administrative experts focus on value creation in addition to managing resources with imagination. Value is created through a number of delivery mechanisms: brokering HR services from inside and outside the organization, making appropriate insourcing and outsourcing decisions; creating service centers that integrate and reduce costs of providing routine transactional services; establishing centers of expertise to bring together knowledge workers who might otherwise be scattered throughout the organization; and forming integrated solution teams or task forces to address complex problems that require the input of multiple internal and external technical people or functions.

Employee champions are the employees’ constructive voice in management and executive discussions and provide resources that help employees meet the demands made on them. Employee champions help to prioritize and improve work processes to make tasks more reasonable, challenging and fun; they see that appropriate rewards and recognition are provided, that communications take place and that training and development ventures are well designed and implemented.

Change agents concentrate on building the capacity for the organization to change by helping leaders to understand what successful change by helping leaders to understand what successful change requires them and others to do. They help organizational members to view change and transformation endeavors as continuous processes and not single event. They also help to create an organizational culture and work environment that supports rather than resist change.

Following these predicaments the HR function has to be redesign in order to fulfill the four roles outlined above. HR needs a strategy just as the business does; once that strategy is defined, HR must undertake a change process that begins with comparing its current capabilities to capabilities needed to achieve the strategy. This is the meaning of HR for HR.

The Human Resource function has to be accountable for business results, meaning that HR executives need to become better partners in improving the organization, finding better ways to delight customers, identifying important strategic opportunities and participating in key business decisions. The new purpose of HR is to find ways to add value to the bottom line, link their activities to strategic objectives and show how everything they do is in the service of greater organizational good. On the other hand, HR cannot assume accountability for what they do not control, but they should be responsible for making managers accountable for the attitudes and behaviors of their people and their company. By doing so, the HR function can move from its current positioning in many organizations as bureaucratic, legalistic, and controlling of behavior to being perceived as innovative, contributing partner in achieving future success.

For the future HR will have to develop theories that can guide the people’s practice; developing leadership models; sharing knowledge across boundaries; changing organizational cultures; enhancing speed, innovation and implementation and integration; providing new governance models; developing succession, career paths and competencies; and gaining increased credibility in the eyes of stakeholders.


Copyright 2005 QBS, Inc.

     

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