How Much Business Should HR Professionals Know and How do You Achieve a Business Understanding?
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Our global research into the Success Profile for HR professionals found business acumen to be a key feature in the mind-set of the most successful. High performing HR professionals live and breathe the business they are part of – they understand not only the intricacies of their organisation and division but also the sector they operate in, the competitor environment, the economic, political and social factors that impact upon it.
But why is it that business knowledge is so critical to success? After all, surely HR’s greatest contribution is made through our own technical knowledge and expertise?
Our view at Head heart + Brian is that it’s not what you know, but how you use what you know. The effective application of deep business knowledge ensures that every decision made is informed by a clear understanding of its value and relevance to the particular organisation and its strategy. This, together with our HR technical capabilities, can provide a powerful force through which HR can lead and influence.
But how often do we actively invest time developing our skills in utilising this knowledge so that it has the greatest strategic impact? Generally, we are better at investing time building and developing our knowledge – we attend seminars, network, read blogs and strategy papers and spend time building this knowledge base. Whilst acquiring this knowledge is important, its true value is only realised when it is applied in a way that is meaningful in a given business situation.
Understanding what knowledge and skills it is important to have, and how they will help you drive business goals forward, is what high performing HR professionals do so well. The best HR leaders ensure that their teams are confident and able to draw on knowledge and skills they have developed to inform strategic discussions and generate meaningful insights with the business leaders they support. Knowledge for its own sake is not helpful….it’s all about what you do with it.
That’s the thinking behind our on-line business acumen tool The Business Factor, designed specifically to provide HR professionals with the opportunity to hone their skills and gathering and applying business knowledge to real business challenges.
You can access the training tool from your desks or on the move, once you log on to the site. The programme introduces you to the organisation you’ll be ‘working for’ and provides background information on it and the particular challenges it faces. Then a scenario is played out. As the action unfolds you have to apply your knowledge of the business to make decisions. Each decision influences the outcomes achieved by the organisation, which means you can see first-hand what effect your business knowledge and decision skills have. The tool also provides tailored feedback and analysis after every decision, to help you reflect upon the way you apply your knowledge and skills to achieve maximum impact.
The programme has multiple routes based on the decision you make so you can use it repeatedly to hone your skills and test your progress in making decisions which add value to the business.
If you are interested in building your capability in this area, why not take a look?