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HR should focus on 'business fit, not best in class', says Panasonic HRD

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HR teams can be too focused on achieving "best in class" status across all areas and lose focus on the needs of the business they are serving, according to Panasonic's director of UK HR and European talent management Richard Mills.

Mills told HR magazine that he, like many HR directors, was raised in a culture where being best in class was a primary aim. But he suggested that today that is no longer the goal that adds most value.

"You have to look at what the business needs are," he said. "Sometimes it's only not to be best in class in one area and focus on another strategic goal that the business requires of you. It's more about having a function that's the best business fit."

Mills was discussing the launch of Hay Group's HR Blueprint – a free online framework designed to help HR directors manage HR transformation and have more effective conversations with the business.

Hay Group associate director Natasha Dillon, who has been involved in the development of the tool, told HR magazine understanding business strategy has overtaken benchmarking as top priority for HR.

"HR sometimes needs help to align with the business strategy," she said. "Although it can be difficult to make that adjustment. Asking departments without giving them guidance is like asking someone to change their personality but not telling them how to do it."