Just as internal issues are of principle importance to a company’s Human Resource function, so too is the outward business environment.
For HR practitioners to be considered strategic business partners, they must focus on the needs of their business by continually assessing their competitive marketplace. Globalisation, technological advancements and changing demographics are ever-present in the external environment and impact heavily on a business’s viability and attainment of competitive advantage.
HR & the Business Landscape:
- Because HR professionals are business professionals with a people focus, they should take considerable time to discover their employee demographic, as well as their customer’s profile. This will enable them to mould HR initiatives accordingly.
- In order to practice their craft credibly, HR practitioners should develop and maintain a strategic business focus, centred around the employee and their welfare. After all, people and business are equal and paramount, as we cannot have one without the other.
- In analysing the outward environment, HR practitioners must therefore focus on key areas of impending change, pertinent to workforce management.
- External realities will determine the success of an organisation’s HR practice and because HR can diagnose organisational issues that affect employees, it is necessary to hone in on the employee in relation to the wider business.
- Active analysis should be an ongoing and iterative process, in order to predict possible future changes. This will ensure that HRM contributes to the overall business strategy and boosts the function’s credibility.
- In a world now considered much smaller on account of globalisation and technological advancements, employment opportunities have become much more attainable.
- Consequentially, it must be highlighted that HR is more than the micro elements of recruiting etc. By strategically analysing contextual developments in the external environment and planning HR interventions accordingly, the goal of the HR function is to deliver a committed and capable workforce, in a bid to achieve competitive advantage at a strategic level.
Marie Delaney, CIPD