It’s been almost a year since I managed to obtain my SPHR. I’ll be the first to admit that it was tough, partly because of what I’ll call my “blind spots.” We all have them-sometimes they’re the things we know we don’t know. As a Generalist I have a wide, but not necessarily deep, body of knowledge regarding an organization’s business units. I relied on my colleagues to perform their respective roles, thinking little about whether we were speaking the same language, so to speak. This isn’t much of an issue at my current company, however, the exam did open my eyes to other possibilities. The SPHR test works from the assumption that a HR professional is an emerging strategic partner, and not an established one. A different work environment from my own (for example, one that’s more rigid, or where the division of labor is highly specialized) may foster cultures that prevent HR practitioners from being a valued contributor. In these environments they’re seen as an obstacle and not part of the group that drives the business.
So what do we need to do to erase that perception? How do we get involved with the other players in the game in order to create and sustain a winning organization? As I found out, HR needs to step outside its traditional role and actively engage the other business partners. And you can’t do that unless you understand how the different functions operate-their motivations, tools and processes, and yes, their language.
With that in mind, I’ve asked a few professionals to talk about what they want HR to know about the subject they’re discussing. Future posts will continue this theme, with other contributors covering different areas of interest. If you have a topic to suggest, or if you want to join the party (as a guest contributor) leave a comment or e-mail me.