Does the thought of asking the C-suite for funds for an HR initiative make you fearful of rejection?
An industry leader says it’s high time for HR professionals to throw out that old-fashioned way of thinking.
“Instead of you considering it an ask – to come and ask for the money – know that no other core parts of the business would consider it that way. They would just propose the work they need to do,” says Heather Lastiwka, head of talent at ATB
“What I’ve often witnessed in HR leaders is that we position ourselves like we’re not equal, and therefore we’re begging and pleading for funds. It’s a mindset, it really is.”
A mindset that needs to change in order to achieve that sought-after position of “strategic business partner”, she says.
“Probably the most difficult scenario [is] when there isn’t a VP of HR, there isn’t a chief HR officer – when there isn’t that level of role, you feel as though you are having to ask. That’s a more tricky scenario. But if you position yourself as a strategic partner and do the work of strategic partnering, then the funds just tend to go along with it.”
The trouble, says Lastiwka, is that HR professionals “tend to position ourselves in the wrong place right from the beginning.”
Instead, she urges them to learn the business, and ensure their work has a direct link to the organization’s goals.
“When we don’t deeply and richly understand the intricacies of the industry that we’re supporting or the business unit that we’re supporting, then when we go to make our proposals, it sometimes falls flat,” she says.
“We view their goals equally as much as our goals. Then, we understand what we, as a talent or people partner, are going to have to do to support them in being able to achieve those goals. That doesn’t mean we don’t have our own – we have our own, too, still, but they must be directly connected and they must help the business drive the purpose we’re there for.”
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