One of the most frequent questions I get when people view my website or LinkedIn profile is: "what do you mean when you say you 'put the human back in human resources'?" Allow me to explain...
Business is fraught with difficult decisions; it's what makes the business world go 'round. Business leaders are tasked with making challenging, sometimes life-altering, decisions every day. Often these decisions pit conflicting ideals against each other: personal loyalties vs business necessity; passion projects vs stakeholder obligations; the desires of the few vs the needs of the many.
The decision-making process requires hard data, business acumen and technical knowledge. It also requires high EQ, self-awareness and good judgement. Most importantly, it requires one (or a team of) trusted advisors who can help the leader sort through points, counterpoints, arguments and sides to come to the decision that balances both head and heart.
A good HR Business Partner (HRBP) is an invaluable resource to an executive. Some of the best HR people I've worked with allow executives to be themselves - flaws and all. Acknowledging, and incorporating, our flaws into our whole being is critical to extended success in business. Those HRBPs who can both hold up a mirror and be a pillar of support simultaneously are diamonds to be treasured.
But it has to go both ways: HR isn't only there to support the executives. I think HR has lost their way in their fight for a seat at the table. One of the biggest complaints I hear about HR is that "HR isn't there to support employees; it's only there for management." As HRBPs we need to be very clear on our remit as advocates for all employees. Helping employees understand business rationale behind decisions, counseling them to make career decisions using all data points and making sure they know that they have power in the employer / employee relationship are all important facets of employee advocacy.
Through guidance and high EQ, HRBPs can empower employees at all levels to make smart decisions; decisions that consider humanity as part of the equation.