Summary of Roadmap to Strategic HR

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Many people view the typical human resource department as an administrative heavy-hitter, home to experts in processing forms and muddling through paperwork. Employees who want to sign up for health benefits, contribute to a company’s 401K or ask a question about vacation or sick days make a beeline to HR. That has always been part of HR’s role. But the business landscape is changing rapidly. HR needs to reach beyond its traditional duties and become an integral part of an organization’s strategic planning. Author Ralph Christensen, a former corporate senior vice president, says it isn’t easy for an HR department to make the transition to becoming a strategic partner. But as painful as the process might be, it’s necessary for HR to move forward and evolve. Reading Christensen’s book won’t change things overnight, but believes that if you want your company to stay ahead of the curve, this book deserves a prominent place on your shelf.

About the Author

Ralph Christensen, an international consultant, has been a senior vice president and a vice president at major American corporations.



Traditionally, HR departments focus on administering payroll and employee benefits, answering questions about company policy, and coordinating events and training. Many businesspeople view HR as primarily an administrative function, but that is shifting quickly. The Internet makes it easier for employees to address benefit issues themselves. And, many companies now use outside vendors and service centers to tend to administrative tasks.

HR is clearly undergoing a transformation that requires a different mindset and approach. Today, HR needs to be part of the regular business team and not just an administrative support entity. HR leaders must understand how they can contribute concretely to an organization’s vision. It’s easy to fall into familiar patterns. But in a shifting environment, HR needs to ask if its work remains valid and is being accomplished efficiently.

Change in the Air

CEOs may verbalize a willingness to transform HR. But when it comes time to enact changes or at least establish the essential framework, they may resist. In fact, some CEOs may wish to maintain the status quo. That’s why it’s important for HR leaders to assess whether the company...

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