Human resources departments are experiencing significant changes within shared services functions, with many companies embracing the emerging trend of HR practitioners moving from a generalist to a specialist model.
The business landscape
HR Generalists or Business Partners as they are now called, are high in demand across all industry sectors. Taking on more of a partner position in the firm, they aim to be closer to the business in order to develop more effective recruitment, succession planning and retention strategies. As HR starts to adopt a more strategic role in the company, there is an increased desire to raise the level of professionalism from an administrative function to a business partner model. With new emerging markets opening up for organisations, there is a greater need for HR to undertake preliminary studies on current HR practices. This has resulted in HR generalists setting up departments that focus heavily on designing, developing and implementing various HR procedures, tools and processes.
Why the need to upgrade
Bruno Marchand, Manager, Human Resources & Business Support Divisions, Robert Walters Singapore, comments, “HR professionals are dealing with internal clients and external vendors in countries across the region. From a soft skills perspective, they need to be highly articulate. The ability to put a point across clearly and concisely so that everyone can understand is very important. It can be quite a juggling act for many HR professionals – on one hand, they need to convey and implement the head office’s general guidelines and policies. On the other hand, they need to be continually aware and conscious of significant cultural differences within each country under their portfolio.”
How business partnering has improved
There is always an operational element to a generalist function. However, in recent years, we are increasingly seeing strategic elements being added to the role. Clients are more interested than ever to know how involved you would be in developing and implementing strategic initiatives. Some questions raised are ‘How are these strategies being executed?’, ‘What is the impact they will have on the business?’, ‘What will the outcome be?’ and ‘How can these successes be measured?’. This shift towards the HR function taking on new and more strategic responsibilities often requires a significant amount of buy-in from the business. As a result, the industry is seeing a healthy growth in such partnership roles within HR.
Clients are more interested than ever to know how involved you would be in developing and implementing strategic initiatives.
What do such trends ultimately mean for the HR professionals? Clients are always on the lookout for fresh ideas and methods to keep them competitive in the marketplace. Here’s our tip – it is important to constantly update your CV with any new HR initiatives you have been involved with. For instance, if you have been tasked with staffing responsibilities, highlight the recruitment methods you have employed and explain how different or innovative these tools are from the norm.
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