HR Debatable


We cannot even recount how many times we’ve heard the phrase ‘HR need to know the business,’ either from HR practitioners themselves or from people outside the HR field. And it’s something that makes a lot of sense: HR professionals play a critical role in organizations, ensuring the success of their people and aligning People initiatives with business objectives. But what does it actually mean? Put simply, it means that HR practitioners know the business inside and out and that they know how to use the terminology, concepts, and metrics that are important to business leaders. Among other things, but let’s stick with these two elements for now. Because how do we get HR pro’s to learn everything about the business? Not from a text book, that’s for sure. And neither from a fancy course or masterclass or from an HR community. Why not? Because every organization and what it does to make money differs. So what about simply working alongside people in various departments of the company for a while to really get to know the business? This is how, traditionally, boards and senior executives cultivated future leaders, by rotating them through critical departments and functions, often in various geographic locations. It was assumed that the best way to prepare promising mangers for a future in the C-suite was to have them develop deep competence in a variety of administrative and operational roles. Shouldn’t we consider something similar for HR professionals if we want them to truly know the business? And this brings us to our second statement of the day: HR should have mandatory rotations in other departments.