Among the many changes occurring in today’s business trends, perhaps no element is undergoing more transformation than Human Resources. In the past HR’s role was seen as kind of an expanded version of the benefits department with a focus on compliance, but over time it has developed leadership and strategic focus.

On October 8, 2013, an SAP sponsored radio program, HR Trends with Game-Changers, focused on the HR-Led Business. In a roundtable discussion format, the participants were:

  • Jill McGillen, with whom readers of this newsletter are acquainted,
  • Simon Mitchell, General Manager at DDI Worldwide UK, and
  • Brigette McInnis-Day, Executive Vice President and Human Resources Business Partner for the Global Customer Organization at SAP.

For my part, I pointed out that the HR department is the umbrella department ….the department that an employee interacts with first, last and during their employment. Thus, HR departments can wield a “massive influence” on the culture and productivity of the entire company. HR departments are already becoming more impactful as they are starting to be viewed as true strategic leaders by the company. HR is now utilizing collaborative inquiry as opposed to its former focus on compliance.

Simon Mitchell stated that the best HR professionals are “comfortable with challenging and pushing back on ideas from other departments.” In his opinion, “HR superstars” are able to talk business first, but through the lens of people and talent.

Brigette McInnis-Day has found that HR should mirror the natural behaviors of people. One of the best ways for the HR department to lead is to connect with the business and have the people “pull the HR programs along” as opposed to the HR department primarily pushing programs out. Brigette advised that when HR departments work with a “listening consultative approach,” they are much better at connecting with both the business and individuals.

Panelists were asked what skills and characteristics they would look for in hiring Human Resources professionals for the future. Here is a summary of what the panelists said:

  • Consultative learners
  • Collaborative
  • Visionary
  • Creative
  • Innovative
  • Strategic
  • Executors
  • Fun

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