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Continuing with our previously published article "Strategic human resource management" addressing the four roles that HR professionals must play (strategic partners, administrative experts, leaders of employees and agents of change.), in this article we will discuss the way in which HR professionals become strategic partners.

To create value and deliver results, HR professionals must start focusing not on their tasks and/or on their HR own operational activities, but in defining the contributions they can make to this post.

Strategic human resource management.

The strategic role of HR focuses on aligning HR strategies and practices with the business strategy of the organization. When the strategies of an organization are translated into HR practices, the company is helped in three ways.

1. The company can adapt to change because the time between the conception and the execution of a strategy is reduced.

2. The company can better respond to customer's demands because their customer service strategies have resulted in specific policies and practices.

3. The company can achieve a better financial performance through a more effective execution of its strategy.

For HR professionals to become "strategic partners" they must participate in the process of defining the organizational strategy, ask questions that turn strategy into action, and to design HR practices aligned with the organizational approach. As strategic partners, HR professionals should identify and prioritize the HR practices that make these strategies attainable.

To translate strategy into action requires discipline. The concept of moving from strategy into action is the organization diagnosis, i.e., the systematic evaluation and alignment of organizational practices with the objectives set by the organization.

The concept of organizational diagnosis may be new to the organizational process, but it is not new to organizations. When finance professionals examine the financial processes, they make a financial audit. The HR equivalent of the financial audit is the organizational audit.

When HR professionals lead managers, with the help of the application of the diagnostic model, they become added value partners. As partners they should encourage operational managers to share responsibility for the organization diagnosis by turning the diagnostic results into activities and / or HR practices that support the implementation of the strategy within the organization.?

HR professionals as strategic partners do not always agree with the decisions of the executive team, but they force a serious discussion about the way organizations should be created in order to achieve the strategy. As partners, HR professionals should not become team servers, but champions of the creation of a balanced organizational scorecard. As partners, they earn respect and credibility because of their good task performance: providing organizational excellence through the diagnosis. As partners, the HR professionals challenge from a trust basis.

In order to work as strategic partners, professionals should fulfill the following tasks:

• They must create an organizational architecture and be able to use it to translate strategy into action.

• They must learn to make diagnosis of the organization effective by making right questions and by generating creative and useful practices.

In the joint execution of the organizational diagnosis, operational managers and HR professionals collaborate to translate strategies into operational actions.

Dave Ulrich (1997). Human Resource Champions. Buenos Aires Argentina Editorial: Garnica

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