Exclusive B21 Survey: Nearly Half of HR Execs Feel They're Now Playing a Strategic Role

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New survey shows more HR executives are successfully becoming "strategic partners" in their businesses. This involves earning the respect of the CEO and top managers and quantifying the tangible value HR delivers.

A new Business 21 Publishing survey of 179 HR executives showed that promising 47% are recognized as strategic partners in their business.

At large corporations, that figure would likely be higher, but the B21 survey targeted the full range of companies, with the majority of respondents working at organizations employing between 100 and 500 people.

Traditionally, HR has played a more administrative role at small and medium-size companies. In the past decade though, as HR admin has been increasingly outsourced, HR executives have recognized that the best way to justify their jobs is to become strategic partners who deliver quantifiable value to the organization. In the late nineties we began seeing a number of large organizations appoint former line managers to head HR (Lucent Technologies was one); the thinking was that a line manager accustomed to driving ROI would be more effective at transforming the HR function.

But at smaller companies the story has been different. And the reasons are many. CEOs at smaller companies often don't take HR seriously. HR executives who excelled at administration are sometimes unable to think strategically. Or they simply lack the influencing skills it takes to get executive and rank-and-file buy-in for their ideas. In today's environment, however, there's pressure on all HR people to play a more strategic role, even if that means retooling -- learning how to quantify training outcomes, developing better influencing skills, studying the company's balance sheet to understand how it really makes money, and even meeting with customers to grasp how the company's products fill market needs.

The B21 survey isn't all good news. Ten percent feel they're strategic partners but the CEO doesn't. Another 32% want to be strategic partners but don't feel they're there yet.

To read the complete survey results, go to http://www.b21pubs.com/hrintellcenter/leadership/leadershiparticles/HR-strategic-partner-survey.asp

To learn about an audio conference B21 is conducting entitled "How to elevate HR to a strategic Partner in your business," click here http://www.prestostore.com/cgi-bin/store.pl?ref=Business21&pd=281639

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Stephen Meyer