I had occasion last week to compliment one of my global HR colleagues on a piece of work well done and remark that it was something I would look to replicate in my region.
His witty and acerbic response made me chuckle: “Welcome to the world of strategic HR Mr Westney. We’ve been expecting you.” Actually, I taught him everything he knows.
Regular readers will know I’m not one for labels and I struggle with the whole obsession of strategic versus operational HR delineation. We don’t hear our colleagues in other functions talking about strategic finance, strategic marketing, strategic IT, strategic sales. Strategy is strategy is strategy. Think it, plan it, do it.
At the end of the day, every HR practitioner in every HR team in every organisation in the world should be thinking strategically. The fact we still have to talk about and define it shows we still have a long way to go in our maturity as a profession.
If you aren’t forward thinking in HR, and thinking about how you can better make use of emerging technologies, data, social media, behavioural sciences and everything else out there that can raise your HR strategy above the mediocre, and if you aren’t all over how the world of work is changing and doing every damn thing you can to give your organisation a competitive advantage in every aspect of attraction, retention, performance, reward and so on then words fail me. You are failing your colleagues, kidding yourself that you matter and, more importantly, failing your profession.
That’s the only definition you need for strategic HR.
Expect it? We need to demand it.