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HR as a Strategic Partner: An Engagement Model

Office of State Personnel, North Carolina

March 05, 2008

This chart depicts the steps that must be undertaken for a Human Resources Office to become a strategic partner within its organization. The steps need not be followed in precisely the same order, but each step is important to the process. Earlier steps inform later ones, and sometimes a later step raises and helps answer questions about an earlier one. All the steps, however, are necessary in order for the HR organization to become a strategic partner with the leaders and decision-makers of the organization.

strategic business partner model

HR Current Status. This is the starting place that describes HR’s current status within the organization. Some HR offices have been low-key, sometimes ignored entities who are brought onto the scene after all the decisions are made and then instructed to carry them out. Some HR offices may be more influential within their organizations than others. The point is that each office must start where it is and proceed along the path to where it wishes to be in terms of being a strategic partner in the organization. The more clarity the HR office can reach along each step of the journey, the more likely it will reach its desired end state.

What HR Specialty Fits You?

Determine HR Mission. This is the first step and one at which the HR office determines its status quo. The questions that must be answered are those of current purpose. What is the current function of the HR office? What has traditionally been its role? What business is it in?

Determine HR Values. Each HR office has a set of values it operates from. Sometimes these values are evident; sometimes they are not. It is important that the HR team members articulate their personal values and their professional values and decide which of these are the desired values that will drive the office now and in the future.

Determine HR Vision. Once the status quo is determined and the desired office values are agreed upon, the desired future state must be determined. The vision is a verbal picture of what the organization will be in the future. The vision informs what the office will be doing when it becomes a strategic partner.


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