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Ulrich's "Business Ally" HR Competency - Can You Get Another Job At Your Company?

From time to time we're profiling the latest HR Competencies from Dave Ulrich here at the Capitalist.  Next up for discussion?  "Business Ally" as a key competency for HR pros. 

Forget the stuff you have been exposed to for the last decade in the push to become a "business partner". King_of_queens  A business partner sounds like the UPS guy (my favorite UPS-like business partner in the picture at the right) stopping by two times a day to pick up the boxes. The real question we have to ask ourselves as HR Pros is whether we be welcomed into a non-HR position in our company.  Why do I say that?  From Ulrich:

"HR contributes to the success of a business by knowing how it makes money, who the customers are, and why they buy the company’s products and services. For HR professionals to be Business Allies (and Credible Activists and Strategy Architects as well), they should be what Ulrich describes as “business literate.” The mantra about understanding the business—how it works, the financials and strategic issues—remains as important today as it did in every iteration of the survey the past 20 years. Yet progress in this area continues to lag."

Sometimes all the strategy talk gets me a little drowsy.  Here's what it all comes down to for me.  Can I (and you since most everyone reading this site is an HR person or in a related position/industry) get a job in another department of my company?  Can I use what I know to move my career into Sales, Marketing, Client Services, etc?  If the answer is yes, than I'm a business ally.  If the answer is "no", then you've got work to do.  It's as simple as that.    You may have no intention to move to another area, but if the answer is yes, you are a business ally to the people you serve. 

Workforce Management is doing a daily magazine at the SHRM conference - check it out and sign up for the daily distribution.  In Sunday's edition, an article on Page 2 notes that a high-end session on project management skills was half full, and some industry insiders wondered aloud whether HR people understand that skills like project management are key to survival for HR pros in the outsourced world we are evolving to.

Could you secure an offer in a non-HR department in your company based on your knowledge of the business?


Rudolf Melik

Thanks for the reference to the Workforce Management article, and your insights about the new roles that HR professionals must take to "get to the table, stay at the table."

I am glad that Jason Corsello, the speaker at the SHRM conference, actually used the words "evolve or die" when addressing HR's need to be more relevant as companies outsource, get leaner, and respond to the global economy.

You do a great job of illustrating the competencies of Ulrich's original article. I hope more HR professionals will take note of the ways they need to adapt to a changing world.

I blog about Project Workforce Management and the trends related to managing project-based teams at http://www.talentontarget.com.

Rudolf Melik, CEO Tenrox


I guess that to get the loan from banks you must present a firm reason. But, once I've received a credit loan, just because I wanted to buy a bike.

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