The human resource (HR) professionals play a major role in the human resource management department in attaining the HRM goals and objectives of an organization. They play the multiple roles in driving change, implementation of the HR policy and is equally viewed as partners by the HR managers in aligning the human resource strategies and the practices of an effective business strategy. With their roles viewed as such, HR professionals desire to be recognized as the strategic business partners in the field of the human resource management who help in the accomplishment of the organization’s business objectives. Thus, they want to be given a “seat at the table” whose roles are viewed as ultimate partners in driving change in the organization and in the implementation of the HRM policies.
This paper aims to discuss the significance of having the HR professionals take a “place or a seat at the table” as business partners in driving change and implementing organizational policies, the important barriers that cause HR professionals to fail in being recognized as true business partners of the organization as well as the possible ways by which they can make themselves play more valuable and highly recognizable roles as important business partners and drivers of change within the organization.
When the human resource professionals desire to have a “seat on the table,” this refers to their roles as a strategic business partner of the organization whose role is not only limited in the implementation of the HR policies but takes an important role in devising strategies for effective HR management within the organization. According to Mathis and Jackson (2010), the HR professionals’ roles are not merely limited to boosting employee morale or administrative efficiency but rather they are more engaged in the systematic planning and evaluating strategies that would make them drivers of change. This view of the HR professionals on their role as strategic business partners of the organization is significant because it makes them good leaders in the systematic planning and effective implementation of the human resource management policies, as the HRM is becoming a more complex field and HR professionals are expected to deliver more competency and efficiency in the implementation of a sound human resource management system.
However, not all HR professionals are able to achieve their goals of becoming an effective strategic business partner of the organization. The common recognizable barriers that prevent HR professionals from becoming an effective drivers of change include the following:
- The lack of opportunity in sharing their ideas, knowledge and skills.
- HR managers do not see the need of re-aligning the organizational structure that will involve other HR professionals in decision making as well as in the systemic planning of the organizational policies and its implementation.
- The lack of commitment, competency and skills of HR professionals.
- HR professionals are more resistant to change.
- The lack of access of the HR professionals to management and information.
- Lack of collaboration and teamwork between the HR professionals and level HR managers.
- Poor communication between the management and HR professionals within the organization; and
- Inadequate organizational leadership.
In order to effectively overcome these barriers that prevent the HR professionals from becoming an effective strategic business partner in the organization, it is crucial that they work synergistically as a team within the organization (Weiss, 2013). One way of doing this is enforcing their capability of performing their own individual responsibility with competence and within their area of expertise and making their commitment broader by extending assistance to other HR professionals to work as a team. In so doing, they are able to accomplish more with better deliverable results to the company. HR professionals thus are able to execute their own initiatives, driven to attain the same accomplishment of the HR goals and policies as a common work force.
An HR professional needs to position himself as a business partner in the organization by understanding his role as contributors in the attainment of the organization’s business strategy goals. Strategic business partnership is an intra-organizational alliance formed by the interaction between the HR professionals and the organizational leaders, managers and other employees who should work together in performing their roles in the achievement of company goals and objectives. Thus, every HR professional should develop a positive attitude that will make them pro-actively engaged in bringing change to the organization and share their knowledge, competence and skills as important contributors to the attainment of a successful HR strategies and policy implementation.
Communication within the organization must be given emphasis within the HR department as well. The shared ideas of many are better than a single knowledge of one HR professional and the success of the organization is strengthened by the group knowledge that essentially work together in attaining the common HR goals and policies. HR professionals become more effective drivers of change and their roles are made more significant if their skills and ideas are recognized by the top level management. Thus, HR professionals should be given the opportunity to take their “seat at the table” and share whatever contributions that they can give as a strategic business partner of the organization.
In conclusion, the HR professionals play a crucial role as strategic business partners in the organization and they can be an effective drivers of change whenever they are given the opportunity to be effective in this role. Giving them a “seat on the table” will require the top managers recognize their valuable contribution towards organizational success. Lastly, a collaborative efforts are essential in overcoming the barriers towards an effective strategic business partnership between the HR professionals and top level management for the more efficient achievement of the organizational goals and objectives.
Lawler, E.E. and Morhman, S.A. (2003). Creating a strategic human resource organization: An assessment of trends. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press.
Mathis, R.L. and Jackson, J.H. (2010). Human resource management. Mason, OH: Cengage Learning.
Weiss, D. (2013). Leadership-driven HR. Transforming HR to deliver value to business. Mississauga, Ontario: John Wiley & Sons.