Companies today are wise to have organized departments such as Human Resource when dilemmas arise. HR is a place to rely on in such circumstances? although too often this department is under utilized? misunderstood or taken for granite. Organizations must consider many critical factors as they face the future. Technology is advancing at a frenetic pace? especially in relation to the transfer and accessibility of information and the increasing ease of establishing communication-networking facilities. The continuing removal of trade barriers and tarrifs? the consequent globalization of markets? the volatility of consumer demands within existing markets? currency fluctuations? and political upheaval are by now familiar characteristics of an environment in flux. The capability of people to cope and manage within such an environment is a vital element in the success of any business. The new business context is prompting managements to take a greater interest in the utilization of their organizations' human resources.
Because of this? the human resource function is playing a far more significant role in corporate strategic planning than ever before. Today's top company executives are increasingly looking to HR to improve the bottomline. The traditional HR functions of staffing? recruiting? compensation? and benefits are losing ground to a new generation of value-added core HR functions that include career planning? executive development? training? succession planning? and organization development. Insurance claims administration? outplacement services? employee assistance programs? 401(k) plan administration? dependent care assistance? and other nonvalue-added functions are being outsourced by many companies in an effort to become more competitive (Caudron? 2004).
Moving From Administrative Support To Strategic Business Partner
Tomorrow's competitive business environment will include HR as a strategic business partner and a bottom-line decision-maker. In contrast to its traditional emphasis on personnel administration? HR's future role will be supporting a company's competitive advantage by providing high quality people and by helping business manager strategically plan the functions of those people within the organization. HR must shift from being an administrative support function to becoming partner in charting business strategy. This requires transforming the HR function into a strategic business partner that will positively affect a company's earnings.
HR must begin this transformation by understanding the company's business direction. This understanding includes what the company's product is capable of doing? the typical consumer of the product? and the company's competitive position in the marketplace. Also? the HR function must change from a staff function that delivers pre-packaged HR services to a service that helps managers create customized strategic plans to influence the effectiveness of company performance.
A key factor in the process of integrating strategic planning with HR is ensuring that the HR staff recognize their roles as change agents and strategic business partners. This may be particularly difficult in a rapidly changing organization where the lack of stability tends to leave people with the feeling that they are victims of change rather than champions of ...