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HRDs must think business rather than HR to become a business partner


Business strategy will come from the HR strategy if organisations truly believe people are the most important asset and that building talent is key to business success, Fairplace chief executive Michael Moran declared yesterday.

Speaking at a session on becoming a successful business partner, Moran said HR had the opportunity to be at the heart of the business. However, he added that too many HR managers think ‘HR' rather than business.

 "CEOs understand that for sustainable profit and shareholder value they have got to get the people bit right. But unless you understand what drives shareholder value you won't be able to deliver as a business partner," Moran said.

He pointed out that the key issues that are keeping CEOs awake are generating cash, driving down costs, increasing productivity, increasingly shareholder value and talent spotting. Developing leaders, succession planning, creating an agile organisation with an engaged workforce and creating a legacy also topped the list.

Referring to Dave Ulrich's latest thinking on HR competencies that make a difference. Moran agreed that strategic contribution, personal credibility, HR delivery, business knowledge and HR technology were vital competencies for an HR business partner. However, the major driver of high performance was a greater influence on strategic contribution.

In his role as chief executive of outplacement provider Fairplace, part of the AIM listed human resources consulting group Savile Group, Moran suggested behaviours he expected from an excellent business partner. These included being challenging, resilient, having integrity, having credibility and professionalism and adding value.

HR people could improve their strategic contribution by reading more about strategy, talking about strategy inside and outside the business and building an HR strategy that was relevant to the business.