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How can HR leverage its unique reach?

HR touches every employee, every manager, every leader. As we navigate our way to a new future of work, this reach has never been more critical. It’s even more powerful when we make it a two-way street. How do we make it flow both ways?

Our power is in our questions – and in the spirit behind them.

A great way to start any question right now could be: ‘What we need to work out is …’.
I like this question because it’s inclusive; it shares the challenge and also the accountability. The important word here is ‘we’.

What kind of question would you like to debate with your partners in the business? For example, would it be:

‘What we need to work out is – how to bring in hybrid working?’
Or, ‘What we need to work out is – how to redesign work?’
Or, ‘What we need to work out is – how to create the conditions for our people to be the best that they can be in this new world?’

The level of courage in the questions you can ask will also depend on the trust that exists between HR and the business.

So let’s back up a bit. How can we build new depth in partnering between HR and L&D and business leaders and managers? This is the crux of the opportunity that exists right now.

Let’s use our question from above and apply it to how you work together – i.e. before you tackle the subject of new ways of working, tackle the relationship that can underpin successful delivery of solutions as well as their design:

‘What we need to work out is – how we are going to work together to (e.g.) build a future-proof workforce and culture.’

That question could be transformational.

To deliver best value, HR needs to operate from a position of strength. Asking powerful questions gives HR power. A great HRD is able to challenge their CEO, and help them to think. This can be reflected at every level in the organisation. Great HR professionals empower leaders and managers to be the best leaders they can be.

Business leaders have opened their minds to the human aspects of work during the pandemic. This gives a strong platform for opening up discussions about the wider implications of work – e.g. control versus trust and how to build culture.

What would you like to tackle with a new question?

My book ‘Empowering HR’ is available on Amazon and other bookstores.

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