Human Resource Managers Are
Strategic Business Partners

The Human Resource Manager plays a critical role in ensuring that the human resource function achieves its objectives. The job is so important that some big organizations have appointed CHROs (Chief Human Resource Officers).

Further, the HR manager ensures that employees' energy, competence and skills are utilized towards attaining the corporate objectives.

This is done by aligning the HR function and people strategies to the organization's business plan. HR is becoming more accepted as a strategic partner.

HR Manager Job Description

Make the Human Resource function more relevant by helping employees achieve the strategic intent of their jobs in alignment to your organization's overall plan.

Your job description as the HR Manager is related to the performance of the various aspects of the HR function.

The HRM Function and HRD

In some organizations, the HR management function is separated from that of human resource development.

But your organization can choose to combine the two functions.

There are also organizations who create positions reporting to the HR Manager such as Recruiting Manager, Training Manager and Compensation Manager. By doing this, the HR Manager can concentrate more on planning and strategy formulation.

But additional people means higher HR overheads.

When developing or reviewing job descriptions, keep in mind the strategic role of human resources.

The Changing Role of the Human Resource Manager's Position

As stated above, the position exists primarily to help achieve the strategic business objectives of the organization.

The accepted changed roles of the HR Manager include:

  1. As HR Strategic Business Partner
  2. This requires full understanding of the organization's business.

    This assists you in the plan to align HR strategies, policies and practices with the business strategies.

    For example, if your organization intends to use a particular technology or adopt a certain business strategy to increase customer satisfaction and higher productivity, HR must provide the necessary support.

    An example of the application of this role is in the recruitment and selection process. There is a link between the organization's objectives, those of HR objectives and employment objectives.

    How can the HR Manager become a strategic business partner?

    Dr. Dave Ulrich states that HR Managers and other employees can become strategic partner "when they have the ability to translate business strategy into action."

    This requires HR Managers and HR professionals to develop business acumen, to become customer-oriented, and to link business strategy into HR policies and practices. Only then they can add value and HR leaders allowed to participate in decision making at the organization's strategic level.

  3. As Change Agent
  4. As the HR Manager, you need to identify strategies to improve commitment of employees to both customers and the organization.

    You also need to educate yourself on business principles in order to become more effective in initiating and managing change.

    Being equipped with this know-how, you can make or recommend changes in the HR function in response to new challenges.

    Doing this will make the HR function become more critical and strategic.

    We need to take note that line managers are also in the business of playing the role of change agent. When HR Managers and HR professionals fail to play this particular, there is a risk that senior management will sideline them.

  5. As an Administrative Expert
  6. This means more than merely performing the administrative tasks or taking care of the rules book.

    The Human Resource Manager and HR professionals need to identify the right technology, to redesign work processes, and continuously improve or recommend improvements in the organization's processes. HR efficiency is measured in terms of costs-benefits and HR effectiveness in terms of its quality.

    In doing this, the HR function can create value through HR people becoming "internal consultants."

  7. The Human Resource Manager as Employee Champion
  8. The position also exist in order to satisfy employee needs, to ensure fair and principled management decisions, and to help employees to effectively perform their jobs.

    We need to remember that the HR Manager's position is not there to defend employees against the organization. Where necessary, he or she must take the difficult decision of terminating employees who are non-performers.

    Some writers refer to this role as 'employee advocate.'

  9. Other Roles of the Human Resource Manager
  10. In some organization, the HR Manager also:
    • Performs corporate affairs duties
    • Manages communication channels
    • Carries out community relations tasks
    • Handles safety and health issues

or some of these.

Apart from Human Resource Managers, other key people who are HR champions are HR Heads or Chief Human Resource Officers, and HR professionals.

Others who need to concern themselves about HR are line managers and supervisors.

Making the Human Resource Department More Relevant
As the Human Resource Manager, you need to make the human resource department relevant to the business affairs of the organization. It cannot afford to take the role of an uninterested by-stander.

Continue to make its role as a strategic business partner accepted by the organization's leaders.

Ensure that the Human Resource Manager's position contributes towards the realization of your organization's drive for success. And that it will continue to play that role.

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