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CareersIn his book Human Resource Champions (1991) Dr David Ulrich, management coach and author, wrote about the need for HR professionals to step out of their traditional record-keeping roles if they want to become key players in organisations and drive business success through the strategic use of the workforce. To do so, HR practitioners in Pakistan should acquire skills that can enable them to assume the following three roles if their departments are to be relevant and influential.

The strategic positioner. Before asking for a seat at the executive table, HR professionals must redefine their role – from being the organisation’s administrative arm to becoming its strategic partner, able to manage its key asset – the human capital. This entails redesigning the recruitment, training and development, retention, performance evaluation and succession planning policies as well as work systems to ensure that employees are equipped with the skills required for implementing action plans despite budgetary restrictions and tight deadlines.

The employee advocate. HR managers need to acquire conflict management, negotiation and relationship management skills to become employee advocates and establish a corporate culture where employees are motivated, willing to perform beyond their job description and assume personal responsibility for achieving company goals. This sense of employee ownership can be created by implementing talent management initiatives, employee assistance and gain-sharing programmes, handling employee grievances and regularly scheduling ‘communication’ meetings with employees across the board.

The change agent. To succeed in today’s highly competitive business environment, HR practitioners must be able to ‘match’ their organisation’s internal capacity for change with the external pace of change. HR professionals must sponsor change – not only in their own work practices but throughout the organisation – and overcome resistance by building a case about why change is essential, engaging key stakeholders in the decision making processes, and modifying employee handbooks and policy manuals to reflect the required changes.

– Sahr Nadeem
The writer is a project coordinator at a multinationalcompany. sahrnadeem@gmail.com

First published in the Careers Section of The DAWN National Weekend Advertiser on August 17, 2014.