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Mission Impossible? Transforming HR into a Strategic Business Partner

December 13, 2013

By Stu Cohen

How long have you been hearing that the corporate HR function has to transform itself into a strategic business partner?

How many transformation efforts have you been a part of? And how many of those have been successful?

In a 2012 Harvard Business Review blog post, J. Craig Mundy, vice president of human resources and communications for the Climate Solutions sector of Ingersoll Rand, wrote: “For two decades we have been hearing that HR must become a strategic partner to the business. And the fact that we’re still hearing it suggests that in many organizations it hasn’t happened.” And, judging from the 240-plus comments, many HR professionals agree with his problem statement.

So, what’s the problem?

At Linkage, through our research and our extensive work with HR business partners in a range of organizations, we’ve uncovered the following three universal truths when it comes to why this transformation hasn’t happened:

  1. Success for the HR professional requires a new set of core competencies.
  2. The transition to strategic partner takes much longer than anticipated.
  3. There is a lot more resistance to this change from the business at every level than anticipated.

It’s not an easy transformation to make, and an HR strategic business partner needs more than HR expertise–business acumen and strategic consulting proficiencies are also critical to success.

3 Steps for Succeeding as an HR Strategic Business Partner

On December 18, I will be presenting a Human Capital Institute webcast that puts this challenge into context and details three universal competencies required to help HR add value to the business and enhance your credibility with the business leaders in your organization. Attendees will learn how to:

  • Leverage financial metrics and analytical capabilities to drive strategy forward
  • Realize the impact that HR can make on the overall business
  • Gain a greater understanding of the strategic consulting process

About Stu Cohen:

Cohen_StuartStu Cohen is a Principal Consultant at Linkage. He specializes in executive coaching and leadership development and has over 25 years of experience working with Fortune 100 organizations.




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