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Will I ever stop cringing when I see the job title HR BP?

Will I ever stop cringing when I see the job title HR BP?

Over the past 6 months I have seen a range of unorthodox job titles, for example “global sales hero”, which I generally assume are only used to elicit an emotional response from people so they become more memorable. I can accept this tongue-in-cheek style in the way it was intended and sincerely wish the job title “Human Resources Business Partner” could be on that list too. Alas, it isn’t. Rather than being seen in this light, professionals holding the HR BP title are supposed to be grateful about their newly earned status within businesses! 

Business Partners?

Nowadays isn’t it much more convenient for non-HR people to locate a person in the HR department that speaks their language, that understands the business, that can even partner with the business functions to help achieve organisational goals? Just head to the HR BPs within the HR team; they can help because they get it- right?

Quick question - if you are not partnering with the organisation to support the achievement of business goals, then are you even necessary?

This is not a dig at HR professionals who are striving to become more involved in their respective organisations, to influence business outcomes and contribute to the strategy of the future. There is a glaring disconnect here. I just can’t imagine people creating new business partner titles for departments such Production, Supply Chain and Sales. Do you ever expect to hear someone say “I’m the CBPO?” Using titles like business partner exclusively for the HR department does not really confront the ongoing bias against the human resources team, it simply states: “This is one is an exception to the rule.” Adding this label to certain individual allows people and organisations to avoid tackling the underlying issue that HR professionals are often undervalued and under respected.

People Strategy

Unless the soothsayers are correct in their predictions that all our jobs are going to be done by sophisticated cyborgs in the next 5-10 years, strong and influential HR strategy is going to be a cornerstone in achieving the holy grail called ‘competitive edge’. Therefore, HR teams from top to bottom need to play a larger role in shaping the future of the organisation.

Progressive HR practitioners are already making the shift within more agile organisations, with CHROs finally sitting in that top table chair that has been empty for too long. This is great progress. When executive level conversations start to include more tangible HR thinking company strategy will focus more on what needs to be done for employees to help them promote profitable growth for the organisation. Up to now many HR departments have been excluded from the highest level strategic discussions, but have still somehow managed to carve out the people strategy to support the organisational goals. How good, therefore, will it be when senior HR people are actively involved in the process and actually driving company strategy based on our people?

Pause for thought – When HR is playing a leading role in driving strategy, will we then need to create new “People partner” roles in all other departments?

Mindset Shifts

So, what is to be done? We need to frame HR related issues with more emphasis on humans and less on resources. Yes, a human-centred approach! Amazing! I really am a renegade thinker. We can move away from pigeon-holing people according to functions they undertake for us and move towards shaping the organisational experience to allow individuals and companies to simultaneously achieve their goals. This involves breaking down silos, building communication, sharing experiences and suspending the creation of yet more labels. To achieve this, employees, in other words every single one of our ‘business partners’, need to be included in the process of co-creating the future direction of the company. It is values-driven behaviours that move organisations forward and creating a community of people synced around common goals will always be the most powerful tool in elevating any organisation to higher levels of performance.

Final thought – How many of our organisations have cultures that are both agile enough to make these changes happen now and robust enough to come out the other end smiling?

Delivering Business Value Through HR

Delivering Business Value Through HR

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