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7 Ways YOU can be the HR Business Partner of Tomorrow, Today

Source | The APJC Network

There has never been a better time to be involved in championing the people’s agenda. Now more than ever, HR has the opportunity to demonstrate the value that we can bring to achieving business objectives. This is partly because HR teams have more access to technology and data – two cornerstones which help link what HR does and its impact on business success.

My vision is for HR in Cisco is to be seen as a creator of business value. Two reasons: First, HR is the only function that impacts every aspect of a business. In my time at Cisco, I’ve seen HR, time and again, be the primary driver of organizational change. It boils down to relationships and knowledge. Second, I’ve also seen HR successfully break down silos – a crucial requirement in today’s digital age, where progressive organizations are those which collaborate unceasingly.

So, what can HR practitioners do to influence business success? I have seven perspectives how you can be the HR manager of the future immediately:

  1. Think of Yourself as a Business Owner: The often used phrase is that HR is a business partner, but I say that we need to take a step beyond. Here’s my take – HR needs to be involved in making executive, top-level decisions. In order to do so, my team and I need to understand business issues. This will be a core competency for the next-generation of HR practitioners.
  2. Be Business Outcome Driven: What is the most important business outcome? Growth, revenues and profits. I encourage my team to re-shape their mindset around how they impact sales and/or other key business outcomes. For example, by charting productivity data across the organization, we can pick out highly-effective salespeople and then trigger a process to put the best performers in charge of sectors or regions which have the greatest revenue potential. Optimize your organization!
  3. Measure Yourself on Business Metrics: If HR is business outcomes driven, we should measure ourselves on the same KPIs. I hold myself accountable for driving business growth and tie myself to typically non-HR metrics, like sales productivity. This forces me to think in a more strategic manner, like a business consultant.
  4. Don’t Compromise on Talent: What are the competencies and mindsets needed for the organization of tomorrow? I make it a point to keep on top of the latest business developments in order to know this. Then, I fight tooth and nail to hire the best in the business – nothing less. Mediocre talent means mediocre results.
  5. Don’t Forget about Organizational Development: Today’s successful organizations aren’t built on the back of superstars. They’re built on the back of superstar teams and departments who are given the right conditions to thrive. I emphasize that to my team – we need to make sure the company is organized for success, with the right structure and culture in place.

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