The below is my view on why HR is imperative to any organisation;
Why commercial HR!
The quintessence of HR is to configure tomorrow's organisation today - in order to deliver the strategy, meet clients expectations, grow sustainable business and generate value for owners. Through competency, leadership and culture.
Specifically; strategic HR is adapting an organisation to future changes and before the changes occur - through continuously identifying future required organisational capabilities (i.e. identifying competency gaps), developing (train) people accordingly (i.e. bridge the gap) and growing a thriving culture of engaged and interconnected people.
Some HR professionals deem Human Resources to exist for the sake of the employees, while others say it is for the benefit of the business. However, with this 'chicken and egg discussion', one element is missing. HR (as with any company function) exists for the sake of the client! The organisation's capabilities must mirror the client's future demands.
Mastering commercial HR
As an experienced HR leader and former Finance Manager I have an aversion to the notion that 'HR is a support function', primarily because organisational capability is the hub of strategy delivery and people development. Moreover, employee-related cost represents a predominant part of any organisation's cost base, in particular in labour intensive organisation's (up to 70-80+% of cost base). Hence, 'people are the most important asset' is not a platitude - putting people first truly makes HR a strategic leadership function and important strategic business partner to the CEO. In essence, HR should be (one of) the first function(s) to be implemented in any new organisation.
Developing and retaining an organisation and its people is no "Kumbaya campfire” as it entails placing high expectations on professional HR proficiency and strategic capability.
To reach the level of strategic HR leadership, I believe an HR professional has to master the following 6 C's;
(curious readers may read more about each 'C' by following below link for reading access)
'Speed of change'
So, what about disruption, digitalisation, data analytics, AI, the agile organisation, sustainability and so forth? The 'speed of change'?
Technological innovations will continue to have an immense impact on our lives and future business. Technology has evolved from being a tool to also becoming an objective - giving us countless and amazing possibilities in business intelligence. And, in the future is about being 'fast' more than being 'big' in order to survive.
Albeit, since the dawn of time businesses have had to adapt to the evolution, abrupt changes or disruptions - e.g. innovations in manufacturing, new technology, market crunches, wars, changes in consumer behaviour and 'sustainability factors'. But never in the pace we see today - amazing digitalisation (in particular) pushes forward new business models opening up for mind-boggling opportunities.
Due to 'speed of change', organisational capabilities and adopting new competencies has become even more crucial in order to remain competitive and innovative. It will become the #1 competitive factor. Because there is one law of gravity (from 1776...) which will not cease to apply - companies have always had to adapt to new markets and technology to stay in business (make money). We are not able to lift ourselves by our hair..
That's why we are here.