The Human Resource profession, in the twenty-first century, has reached the pinnacle! For decades, HR leaders have argued to defend and prove their value within organizations. Now, the battle has been won! The importance of a strategic human resource department is clearer now than ever before. Once upon a time, HR professionals yearned for “a seat at the table”. Today, HR leaders are not only critical business partners at the table where strategic plans are being made, human resource leaders are at the head of the table!

After weeks of tedious searches and painstaking interviews, you’ve finally found…the perfect candidate. They meet the key criteria for the job and even have extensive experience in similar roles. Their flawless resume and personable interview seal the deal, and the leadership team eagerly agrees to hire them. But, six months later, your perfect hire hasn’t adjusted to their new role as well as you hoped. Their enthusiasm for their job has clearly faded, and the company is struggling to endure their inaccurate work and lack-luster team spirit.

Engaging employees. Recruiting the best talent. Retaining institutional knowledge. Planning for mass retirements. These topics are on the minds of human resources professionals across the globe. So what is the key to winning the talent war? An internal career development program. Randstad US conducted the Employer Branding Survey in 2015, which showed that the top reason why employees leave jobs is “lack of a career path.” The study revealed that employees who had left their jobs in the past year cited a lack of career development opportunities (26 percent) as the prime reason for leaving their organizations.

Just when you thought you could take the afternoon to review job applicants and run payroll for the week, there’s another HR emergency! You roll your eyes, huff and puff, grab your notebook, and stomp towards the conference room. While you know investigating workplace harassment claims is an important part of your job, you’re frustrated and angry that the rest of your day is not going as planned. You think to yourself, “Employees are driving me crazy!”

Diversity is on the agenda of every conference and leadership meeting. Leaders ask, “How do we improve diversity? How do we find diverse candidates? How do we increase inclusionary behaviors?” The list of questions is endless, and everyone is looking for answers. To solve this riddle, leaders group people into categories in an attempt to understand their experiences. So, we group people together by race, ethnicity, gender identity, age, disability, and so on. Everyone ‘fits’ neatly into one of these categories. Still, notice that we start by trying to simplify identity into a series of checkboxes.

Goodbye Personnel Department! Hello Strategic Business Partner! Gone are the days when HR professionals were only seen as the individuals responsible for hiring, training, terminating, writing and enforcing policies and procedures, and maintaining paper personnel files. Instead, HR professionals are relied upon to think critically and align the HR Department’s goals with the organization’s overall strategy. To begin to transition to the role of strategic business partner, HR professionals must seek to understand how the department’s short and long term goals contribute to the bottom line success of an organization.

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