What Does it Take for HR to Become a Business Partner?

  • by Luc Galoppin, Managing Director, Reply Management Consulting
  • Tamara Mesotten, SAP HR Consultant, Quintisys S.A.
  • October 15, 2008
Learn three of the challenges that an HR department can face in a business environment. Find out three steps that HR can take to become a valued business partner within its organization and how SAP ERP HCM functionality can help achieve this goal.
Key Concept

The value chain categorizes the value-adding activities of an organization. It is an analysis tool for strategic planning. Its ultimate goal is to maximize value creation while minimizing costs. As HR is typically a support function, it is often isolated from the chain. To be considered an important part of the value chain, HR needs to use certain strategies to promote the significance of its contribution.

HR is often a favorite scapegoat in many organizations, regardless of which sector or country it is in. It has left many people involved in HR wondering if things are really that bad, and if so, how SAP ERP Human Capital Management (SAP ERP HCM) can help fix this negative perception.

We’ll cover a concrete three-step approach for HR to become a reliable business partner. The biggest takeaway for HR managers is an understanding about the importance of HR processes and how the SAP ERP HCM module should be used to support your HR strategy. We’ll also outline some opportunities for managing expectations of HR.

First, here is a look at the practices that can put an HR department in a weak position within an organization:

1. HR is not included in the value chain. This means that HR is commonly regarded as a cost center rather than a value driver. As a consequence, when it comes to strategic planning, the company treats HR as a necessary evil and allocates a budget and attention to the same extent: the strict minimum.

2. Some HR managers lack extensive business knowledge. Even if they were granted more strategic attention and a larger budget, they would not be able to plan and act accordingly. They haven’t learned to speak the language of the business and are isolated from the rest of the company.

3. HR fails to manage expectations about its role as a business partner.

To counter these perceptions and problems, HR should start by remembering why it is there in the first place: people.

Luc Galoppin

Luc Galoppin is managing director of Reply Management Consulting, a consultancy specialized in organizational change. He picked up his organizational change skills on projects with different scopes, user communities, and interim management assignments. His customers are based in the chemicals, gas, and cosmetics industries. He and Siegfried Caems co-authored the SAP PRESS book Managing Organizational Change During SAP Implementations.

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Tamara Mesotten

Tamara Mesotten is a senior SAP HR consultant at Quintisys S.A. (powered by Keneos), a company that is specialized in delivering expert SAP HR consulting to major European countries. She has built up extensive experience in several HR modules for more then 10 years. She has worked on projects of various sizes and user communities. Her customers are based in the FMCG and Financial industries.

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