My “daughter” likes to preface her more profound statements with the saying “ I am just sayin…” and it seemed appropriate for this post to begin with her saying. Over the past year there has been much discussion in the social media realm about the future of HR.

Recently I have read and heard an ongoing discussion about the future of the human resource profession. On one side is the school of thought that says we need to go back to the days when we were called Personnel. Back to the day when we were primarily an administrative function.  Back to the day when the only concern was completing the requisite form correctly. The other side of the coin says if we expect to have a seat at the “partner table” we need to learn the business. If the LinkedIn discussion regarding whether HR needs to have business acumen is any indication, then the views are well dispersed on both sides of the question.

Any of those you have seen me present live, know that a theme that runs through these programs is that HR is at a crossroads regarding their future in the workplace. This crossroads is determined by how you function in your organizations. Picture, if you will, a mountain road with a fork in the road. If we take the left hand fork, you as a HR professional are complacent with being a commodity. You are content with being considered a mediocre part of the organization. This is fine if this is the way you view your career. However, I would also suggest you are counting the days until you do not have a job anymore. Rough talk? I think not.

The right fork is fraught with risk. It requires a brand new way of thinking about what our purpose is in the organization. It requires you to be attuned to the strategies, the initiatives and the needs of the total organization, not just the HR silo.

If you question my view, consider the mess that is going on between SHRM and HRCI at the moment. Recently I attended the monthly meeting of my local SHRM chapter and they provided us with a copy of the SHRM Competency Model and the skills they were implementing.  As I looked through the 39-page document at the behaviors that are expected to meet the new competencies, a very clear picture comes to the surface.

The new SHRM certification is built on three levels – Early level, Mid Level, senior level and Executive level. As you read through the document at each level you see references to such things as organizational effectiveness; risk management, strategy; change management; project management; problem solving and analytic reasoning.  Each of these requires a more in-depth knowledge of the business then is true for most HR professionals.

Bersin and Associates in their white paper on high impact HR firms stated that among the things keeping HR officers awake at night were the lack of knowledge of how to measure HR in financial terms and the proper use of metrics and analytics. These too are signs of business acumen. These too are signs of being able to speak the language of business. We truly believe that the understanding of the six sigma/TLS continuum methodologies is that language. We believe the six sigma problem solving method is the path to responding to the concerns of the CHRO’s of our world.

Stay tuned. In coming blog posts we will take each of the SHRM competencies and breakdown them to show you how the language of business plays in to their implementation.

So, I am just sayin… as my daughter would say, if you want a future in this profession then you truly need to start now to understand and learn how to speak the language of business. Go out and see and learn what others are doing. Go out and see how this new normal affects your job and more important ho it affects your organization.


Views: 135

Comment by Keith Halperin on June 19, 2014 at 3:12pm

Thanks, Daniel. I've said elsewhere that you don't get a"seat at a table" by being nice boys and girls who speak the same lingo (.PPT and .XLSX) as the current seat holders who say: "Hey why don't you join us here running everything?", you get a seat at the table because you give the current seat holders no choice in the matter. It comes down to *POWER, and you don't get power it by pretending to be a Finance-type.  So Folks: how tough are YOU prepared to be to get "your seat at the table"?



*“Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.”


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