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Advancing Your HC Department In Line With Your Organisation's Needs

In the 21st century, the Human Capital profession is as exciting as it's ever been! While the research in the field itself has fundamentally grown over the past century and in the rise of the current one, HC's ties to the business are stronger than ever, and being a great HC practitioner with solid foundational skills in HC and great knowledge of the literature no longer suffice to make you successful in your job any longer.

True understanding and partnership with the business are now as important as knowledge of the HC literature and the experience in the field.

With the continuous advancement of business practices, the fiercer competition and the necessity to maintain a competitive advantage in order to remain relevant, there's no better time for you to contribute to the betterment of your workplace through advancing your HC department.

The myriad of ways you can go about this is fascinating, getting ideas and insights is easier than ever be it through the countless blogs, social media channels, books, e-books, conferences, forums... and the list goes on and on!

However, amidst that abundance of mediums, it's good to take a step back to reflect on the basics and see what you want to focus on. There is a lot to do and chances are you might take on too many initiatives at once and do a mediocre job at all of them. So going back to my earlier mention of a true partnership with the business, your main focus should be to understand the current and future needs of your business as well as its strategy.

Growing and advancing your function is an exciting thought and while doing so in any way, shape or form is commendable, missing out the mark on linking that advancement with the actual needs of your business can have a major adverse effect on you and your credibility as a professional in our recovering economy which won't do you or your organisation any good.

So all boils down to asking the right questions and looking at things from both a strategic and tactical perspectives in light of the business conditions. Below are some questions that you might find helpful:

- What changed in our business strategy and have we updated our HC strategy accordingly?

- What is the end in mind? Have we identified the critical path, milestones and time frames?

- What are the current pain points that are hindering our progression in the business and what are the the HC pain points that we see? Are both aligned? If not, what are the non-negotiables on either side and what is the sweet spot that will help us strike a healthy balance?

- What are some quick wins that we address head on and what are some of actions that will take longer and the time frames that we're looking at?

- Is our current HC structure/function fit for purpose? Do we need to enhance our structure? Are we leveraging each members' strengths in the best possible way?

- How is our HC workforce doing? Are they on target to deliver our goals? If not, what are they missing? Where are their gaps? Can we develop them? Do we need to source talent/help externally? How long will it take to uplift people's skills to get them to perform up to the desired level?

- What are the interventions we identified? What is the cost associated? What are the immediate and urgent needs? And what can we push back on?

- Have we defined a profile for success? What does it look like in detail?

- How do we keep the momentum? How do we keep track of progress and measure the effectiveness of our interventions? How do we measure our ROI?

These are some of the questions you might want to consider as you go about investing in the advancement of your HC function. Remember that best practice for one organisation might differ from what your organisation actually needs, your reference point is always the current and future business needs.

Keep yourself always up to date with the latest on what's happening in the profession and what your competition is doing. One of my favourite methods to keep myself up to date is attending conferences and forums, when you meet all the people who attend these, other than any keynote speakers, the amount of information you can accumulate is massive. Consider that all these people are committed and they keep themselves updated on latest trends, the knowledge sharing potential is almost unlimited!

Also, ensure to check the Useful Links and References section of this website as it has some of the best sources of knowledge you'll ever come to find on your quest to advance yourself and your HC function.

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