A business savvy people function?

How often have we as a function talked about needing to be business savvy? 

It’s certainly a conversation we’ve heard frequently as we’ve moved to the Ulrich model i.e., Business Partner, Centres of Excellence and Shared Services. The Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development (CIPD) view is that as people professionals we should understand our organisations purpose, future direction, priorities and performance, as well as understanding external influences and trends.  To reflect this the CIPD’s professional map has an entire area on business acumen. This covers topics such as financial literacy, business planning and supplier management.

At InFocus HR we would fully agree. As a profession, understanding what the organisation is trying to achieve and performance against goals and budgets is critical, as it supports our engagement with stakeholders.   As a profession though the question we need to ask is whether we run our function in the way that we expect our organisational managers to operate theirs?  A Gartner article from May 2020 referenced an emerging trend for HR Chief Operating Officer roles. They specifically call out a need to focus on the operation of the function itself i.e. being business savvy!