Are Your HR Leaders Building a Spirit of Business Partnership?

The Huffington Post | Apr 02, 2010

Over the past week I’ve had the opportunity to speak with the HR leaders of several global corporations. Each of these discussions had a similar theme: “How can I help my HR consultants to gain the self-confidence to act as true business partners?”

David Gergen, an advisor to several U.S. presidents, offers some helpful advice: ” A leader’s role is to raise people’s aspirations for what they can become and to release their energies so they will try to get there.”

What can HR leaders do to help HR professionals “raise their aspirations and release their energies?”

1. Demonstrate interest and effort in knowing the business. In a recent HR business partner workshop with HR managers in the insurance industry, we asked how many HR leaders had spent time with real customers in the past month. The answer was a dismal 10 percent. When asked how much time they had devoted to researching and understanding current events in their industry - the external trends that were impacting customers, competitors and investors - 80 percent of HR professionals spent less than one hour a week. When HR leaders and professionals don’t put time and effort into knowing the business, they lose the right to call themselves business partners. Why would a line manager be interested in a “partner” that isn’t interested in them?

Learn what else HR leaders can do.