The identification, retention and development of talent is a priority likely to feature on the plans of most HR functions. Yet when we come to review these talent pools, how many people will come from HR? There is a feeling that there will be too few. This situation needs to change.
As HR and people development professionals seek to transform - deploying e-hr, implementing shared service centres to deliver transactional and advisory HR activities, outsourcing and establishing a new business partnership with line managers - we see a significant opportunity for HR professionals to get themselves noticed by their business colleagues.
Many critical business issues involve significant people and organisational challenges. To tackle these issues, managers need a strong contribution from HR, and that contribution must be broader than the 'traditional' HR areas. For HR professionals, our challenge is to develop and deploy new capabilities.
New HR capabilities
In researching our new book, Transforming HR: Delivering value through people, we identified three critical capability areas that HR professionals need to develop to enhance their core HR skills:
- Client relationship management
- Strategy and change management
- Project management.
Client relationship management should underpin everything that we do. We will be effective when we build and develop strong relationships. If we are trusted and respected, we will be heard, and will then be in a position to influence.
We also need to develop our process consultation skills, so that we can take clients step by step from the problem diagnosis through to the solutions.
Strategy and change management is about developing and deploying the tools and techniques that work with our clients to help shape strategy and manage change more effectively. This means getting to grips with material around organisational development and knowing how to apply it in ways that will help our organisations.
Project management is about how we organise our work to demonstrate value. The world of consultancy has much to offer by way of example.
Let us pose a question: how would you feel if a consultant made a proposition for work without terms of reference, clear scope and deliverables, a project plan, and time and cost estimates? They probably wouldn't get your attention.
The same applies to HR professionals. Project management is not about be