Creating a visible business impact through HR

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Most CEO's today sight talent management as one of their top concerns. Starting from finding the right skills to developing critical skills to retaining best employees, there are a range of concerns for business leaders when it comes to managing talent. Globalization and technological evolution has further intensified the war for talent i.e. making it more difficult to recruit and retain the best employees. Further the economic instability has put more pressure on business leaders to 'optimize' talent i.e. getting the most value for every dollar spent. The concerns of business leaders over talent management are justified as businesses depend on their best employees to deliver superior results. In many knowledge-based organizations, employee costs account for as much as 70% of the total operating costs and directly impact the bottom line.

Talent management faces challenges across the globe and there is one function which has the prime responsibility of managing talent viz. HR. Although all focus is on HR i.e. people to deliver superior results in a challenging business environment, yet in many cases the plight of HR professionals is in pitiable state. HR in many organizations currently plays a very reactive role of firefighting rather than a more strategic and proactive role that businesses are seeking. The HR professionals are just not making it fast enough in the board room with solid advice to help business leaders with talent issues. Given the current global talent mobility & economic instability HR professionals can hold a much more dignified and critical position in any business.

The current HR focus on operational and transactional tasks needs a shift towards more strategic and transformational activities. HR professionals must find ways to increase operational efficiency by using more automation or outsourcing non-core activities so the focus can be shifted towards more strategic activities.

HR must understand and contribute towards the business value chain as a key partner. A strategic involvement in business requires HR to build & demonstrate understanding of the critical business drivers. This means HR must understand what sort of customer experience and financial & operational performance is desired by the organization. If HR can build understanding of these key drivers it can help the business in acquiring and building employee competencies which are vital to delivering the desired customer experience and financial & operational success to the organization. Aligning HR activities to these key business drivers can certainly help HR in creating a visible business impact. Further, aligning the talent pools to the key business drivers should be followed up by building the internal HR competencies and supplemented by implementing HR initiatives which enhance the employee experience and commitment towards business goals.

If you are an HR professional, these are exciting times to be in the profession. So go out, know your business, know your customers, know the balance sheet, know your people and create value for your business. And finally, measure the impact.

Hasan Babat is a leading HR Consultant in UAE View on Gulf News

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