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Article No.: 11-2b

Article Title:     The Human Resources Customer Value

Author: Linda Gravett, Ph.D., SPHR, CEQC

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My definition of strategic HR management is: 
          Proactively seeking ways to align human resource
          strategies and practices with changing business needs
          based on external and internal factors.

If you’d like a shorter definition, I suggest this one:
          HR should add value to the bottom line.
HR can add value by always thinking of and implementing products or services that provide a significant benefit to its customers.  For example, one of my clients recently added kiosks in private, yet accessible locations in its remote manufacturing facilities so that employees can use the kiosk computer to access their personal benefits information.  This is convenient for employees and a time saver for Benefits staff.
HR can add value by learning, from line managers and executives, what employee capabilities are required to help the company respond to market demands.  The organization’s strategic plan can and should serve as the primary needs assessment tool prior to training and development initiative design and delivery.  Rather than serving up canned programs year after year, HR can provide programs that close the skills gap that prevents employees from high performance in the critical areas that will help the company survive and thrive.
HR can add value by serving as a source for competitive advantage.  If HR is always seeking to ensure that the right people, at the right time, are in the right place, this adds value.  Of course, this type of approach requires systems thinking to activities such as recruiting and selection.  One of my clients fosters a high level of communication between training and development staff and recruiting staff.  A typical question that recruiters ask of training and development staff is, “If we recruit and hire at ‘x’ level for ‘y’ position, how will that impact your training and development efforts and budget this year?  This ongoing communication prevents spending extra training dollars to bring new employees’ skills to the necessary level.
HR can add value by supporting the organization’s ongoing quest for competitive advantage; by making it a point to understand its customers’ objectives; and by demonstrating how its activities will help deliver business results.
If fulfilling this need for your organization is causing you concern, please click here to complete my Contact Form.

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