The New Hats of HR

HQ Asia sat in on a session where three CXO’s – a CFO, a CHRO and a CIO – all spoke about the strong relationship between HR and other departments being the key to business success. Read on for the three hats -- HR, innovation and strategy -- and actionable tips to include in your day-to-day work.

As the world of work continues to evolve, so does the role that teams place within an organisation. Gone are the days where human resources only included transactional work like compensation and benefits, conflict resolution and keeping track of administrative duties. While HR often lives by the motto, “people are our greatest asset”, so do other teams have the same beliefs. “As CFO, I see my position as one-third compliance, one-third creating value and one-third focusing on our people,” says Erik Saito, CFO of Ingredion APAC and ANZ.

Last year, we shared the three hats of HR: strategic image builder of HR, savvy marketer of global roles, and sagacious facilitator of skills development. Read on for tips on how HR can contribute to the goal that other teams have: a healthy and successful company.

The HR Hat

Nowadays, there is a demand for delivering in the short term while keeping the long term in mind. HR can no longer be just transactional; business unit heads require a true partner and adviser. Ideally, this relationship will be reciprocal.

How to move away from transactional behaviour:

  • Ask why are we doing it? How does this align to the strategy? Recognise what is compliance and what is habit, then work on changing the habits.
  • Form work squads made up of leaders from HR, business and innovation to partner on projects and learn from other units.

The Innovation Hat

Innovators are professional problem solvers. How can HR leverage this team? By partnering with the innovation team on projects like predicting future leaders using data analytics or automating talent acquisition searches so HR professionals can focus more on strategy and leadership development.

How to include more innovation in your workday:

  • Make space for innovation and controlled risk. If someone on your team is trying to disrupt, given them some room to try.
  • Research the best of the best. Know who the best in field is, and who the best company is. “How can you be the best if you don’t know what good looks like?” asks Neal Cross, Chief Innovation Officer at DBS.

The Strategic Hat

Strategy includes how does a business compete, what is the unique value proposition and how do we solve issues within our organisation. Tim Robinson, CHRO at UPS, who has held many roles including package car driver and human resources for a variety of business units, says, “work for the business of the future. Build out plans and projects that will benefit the company in 10 to 15 years.” Robinson explains this is one way to think strategically.

How to incorporate strategy in your day-to-day:

  • Balance risk and being transparent
  • Question the norm
  • Gain knowledge of other business units
  • Read company financial reports (for publicly traded companies)

HR professionals today have to wear more hats than ever before. One way to approach this, according to Cross, is to approach tasks by thinking about how to best partner. “Have a sales mind-set, which means convincing someone to do a task a certain way,” he explains. One of the new hats of HR includes partnering with another leader and influencing how the project or strategy is executed.

This article was written after observing the HR Leaders Programme session Interface of HR with Other Functional Leaders with Tim Robinson, CHRO at UPS; Erik Saito, CFO at Ingredion; and Neal Cross, CIO at DBS. 

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