When will HR folks see themselves as competent professionals?

I was just speaking to a friend this morning about a phenomenon I have been seeing more often recently.  My friend mentioned she was attending a conference and they had a panel of “business professionals,” none of which was an HR practitioner.  The topic was about HR 2.0 and how the “business” professionals were coming into HR since the folks there were not good enough and needed the “business” to help.  My friend said she was floored that at an HR conference, HR practitioners were being discounted as not being business savvy enough to lead strategies in their companies.  This kills me (and this was an HR conference so we are doing this to ourselves)!

When will HR folks see themselves as competent professionals? 

I hope soon.

When I think about the work that my team does on a daily basis I am amazed.  I have been driving my team to a model with competencies that were highlighted in this whitepaper from the RBL group.  They are expected to not just have business acumen but completely embed themselves into the teams they support and be experts on what we are trying to achieve.    *Please note that I am saying “we” not ” the business.”  My team is accountable to the business results just like the engineers or the product managers or anyone else.

At some point we need to stop playing the administrative role and realize the impact we can make in an organization.  The conversations I have with a manager about their team and what organization they need to build drives revenue.  How my ER team handles a termination could determine off-boarding impact (severance or worse).  How I consult with the senior leadership team on enterprise-wide talent management plans impacts our retention and employee engagement and there are many studies tying this to dollars.

So- how do we change the perception of what we do?   Be educated about your business and what needs to be accomplished.  Know your industry- whether you sell shoes or build websites- know your industry.  Take the time to read up on what is new in HR, don’t just keep doing the same thing every year because that is the way it has always been done.  Follow the trendsetters in HR.  Ask questions.  Learn. Go do things to make yourself better in your craft.  And for goodness sake, be an expert– don’t look for “the business” to be the experts for you.

Photo Credit: Martin Gillet via Compfight cc