Redefining The Role of Strategic HR
Redefining the role of strategic HR can be challenging. Here are some reasons:

HR may not have credibility with senior managers. Many executives do not view HR as a business. They are used to thinking of HR as an organizational support department and accustomed to telling them what to do. HR will need to achieve the credibility to be accepted in the new role.

Managers may be unwilling to take on people responsibility. Managers are not accustomed to taking responsibility for people management and may not view HR professionals as enablers for this new role. HR will need to support managers and provide ongoing consultation as they take on additional people roles.

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Employees may feel they are being neglected. Employees may think they will lose an important ally if HR does not service them directly. HR will need to develop alternative ways to provide the necessary support and represent employee interests.

HR Client Relationships with Executives
HR professionals' ability to add value through their partnership with senior executives includes the following:

• A broad understanding of the business: This helps HR contribute value about the overall direction of the company.

• A knowledge of how all the activities need to align : This knowledge helps the company maximize the success of strategic initiatives and eventually deliver value to the customer.

• A professionalism in investing in human capital and HR processes: With this ability, HR can help guide people and organizational decision making.

• A unique perspective: This perspective allows HR to be an "idea merchant" to enable strategic advantage through people and organizational process outcomes.

HR Client Relationship with Managers
HR needs to find the path of least resistance to influence managers to change their role so that they take primary responsibility for attending to employee needs. To achieve this end, HR must be skilled at enabling managers to manage their direct reports. HR creates the environment to help managers become people managers and motivates them (in whatever way that works) to recognize that their people responsibilities are equally as important as their functional, product, and process responsibilities.

HR can take a proactive role in seeing that managers can accomplish the function of trainer/educator by:

• Creating an ongoing learning environment in which managers can develop people management skills, in either formal or informal settings.

• Instilling in managers the excitement and spirit of managing their employees and business with a focus on customer needs.

Perhaps the most difficult challenge for HR is to learn how to enable the managers to be people managers rather than step into the void to take over their responsibility—in other words, help them do it rather than do it for them. As Peter Block suggests in Flawless Consulting, HR should not be "an extra pair of hands" for managers but rather enable them to manage their employees effectively. HR professionals should become performance consultants to help managers manage people effectively.

HR Client Relationships with Employees
The challenge for HR is to enable managers to be people managers and at the same time create the context for employees to flourish and have their needs met. Their work is with the managers as their coach and organizational consultant. HR professionals provide their specialized expertise to help the managers lead their teams, manage performance, and communicate with their workforce. Of course, HR retains its role in employee relations to resolve difficulties that are beyond the manager's competency level.

The same pattern will take place within companies as well. To the extent it is possible, HR's responsibility to employees is to create an environment that supports employee self-reliance. Using new technologies for communicating information helps create that environment. However, when employee self-reliance is not feasible, employees want to be managed by their manager. HR has to transfer the role of managing employees to managers, and motivate them to be accountable for people management.

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David Weiss, High Performance HR: Leveraging Human Resources for Competitive Advantage, Wiley. You can obtain this excellent book here