Recently, I had the opportunity to meet various business heads along with their HR heads at learning forums. I observed business heads have varying perspectives towards their HR partners; it was hard for me to fathom how broad this continuum can be in spite of a common role definition.
I was thinking what comes in the way of an effective business relationship between these groups and I realized that the role of HR has a legacy to fight. Traditionally, HR has been looked at low down in the value chain by being referred to as coordinator, administrator, recruiter etc with limited business acumen.
HR needs to rise above this perception and take this challenge in its stride. My first-hand experience suggests that some people are able to fight this out while others choose to succumb to this perception and are unable to win over. I may not be wrong in saying that some even find the status quo more comforting. Let me share some examples with you.
In one occasion, I saw that the HR partner was very comfortable in striking a business conversation with his counterparts and added value by sharing thought provoking statements which led to a productive discussion amongst the leaders.
It was so evident that this HR partner has been able to understand how vital his role can be and was able to earn his seat on the table. As a contrast, I saw in another session that the HR partner was stuck in setting the table and found the business leaders sharing comments on the arrangement, food, logistics, with the HR counterpart while realistically the entire arrangement was done by a separate administration department.
It is important that more HR leaders realize that the ball lies in their court and start making headway towards the business table. While the change has begun, a lot remains to be done.
DDI’s Global Leadership Forecast survey reinforced this observation. The survey asked business leaders across the globe how they thought HR professionals contribute to Business.
The results are:
It’s now time to raise the bar for HR, to take on a new role we call “anticipator”. Anticipators are always looking for what might come next. They work with the business to predict future talent gaps, and then strive to close the gap. They are able to proactively advise leaders on the probability of their strategies succeeding based on available talent and its quality
While anticipators and partners generally are likely to use similar leadership practices, anticipators do six things differently than partners or reactors.
- Put a stronger focus on programs that foster employee creativity and innovation.
- Are more likely to position leadership development as an integrated journey rather than an independent series of events.
- Are more likely to institute negative consequences for managers who fail to develop their leaders.
- Help ensure that a higher percentage of leaders are promoted from within.
- Help leaders be more ready to meet the CEO challenge of human capital.
- Are much more likely to use advanced workforce analytics, particularly those that involve forecasting future talent needs
Thus, the business is open and is expecting HR to play the role of the anticipator. So HR leaders, get onto your toes and start rolling! The seat is waiting for you!
Get more information about the Global Leadership Forecast 2014|2015 research, including 18 highly actionable findings about the current state of leadership, an evidence-based roadmap for leadership development, a scoreboard of 20 common talent management practices.