Relevance, not survivorship

Own your role today 

Take a good look at any online HR discussion forum and chances are you see the same issues being discussed. Jane has body odour issues – how should I address it effectively yet gently? How can I drive more engagement in my high-potential employees? How do I better manage change in my organisation in today’s turbulent world? What can I do to recover company property from employees who have been terminated? Should I allow my team to get on Facebook at work? How can I do more with less?

Different people, same problems.

This is not to belittle any of these questions, they are legitimate issues faced in the day to day operations of an HR department. But often, these questions focus on the minutiae and the transactional elements of your role. You can fret over the lack of resources and time that affect your ability to take on high-value work or you can just get on with it.

High-value work is the work that gets you noticed.
High-value work is the work that matters.

This is the work that supports the organisation in the direction it pursues. You understand the business and you can conceptualise the human capital component of such a business strategy. You understand the interplay of the different business functions within your organisation and how these units have distinct goals, some of which conflict with others and yet, all seek to support the overall business strategy. You know that a solid supportive talent strategy which addresses key business issues provides a deep underpinning to the sales, marketing and finance functions within your organisation.

How do you begin to address these issues in a systematic way so that you see results that matter consistently?

Understand your role, understand your business

It starts with understanding your role, not just in itself but within the context of the greater purpose of your organisation. You want to grasp fully what it is that you are responsible for and to whom.

It requires a deep desire within to find out just exactly what it is that the organisation is trying to achieve in the short, medium and long term. It follows that you manage those expectations so that there is a meeting of minds between organisation and yourself.

It begins and ends with questions both of yourself and that of others for it is your questions that determine the answers and direction taken. Having strong interpersonal skills, being good at record keeping and having the right amount of functional HR expertise are typically what we are strong at – it is our business strategy skills, our financial skills and cross-functional expertise where we are weakest. By addressing these weaknesses, we improve our ability to take a more strategic outlook as to how we can contribute.

Own your role

You want to do everything you can to ensure you are equipped to meet your responsibilities, whether that requires arming yourself with the requisite skills or opening yourself up to going down new paths. Do you have the values that support this? Do you have the requisite strengths to support this?

This direction expects a mind moved by curiosity, innovation and growth. It presupposes that you throw away canned responses and behaviours and that you are willing to take a chance on what is to be discovered, on what is new and uncertain so that you can address the deep issues of the day. It also means you do not avoid difficult issues or hard questions. You embrace those situations because they provide an opportunity to do things in an authentic, impactful way.

To own your role is to be imbued with a sense of proactivity – you don’t wait for things to happen, you make things happen.

Are there prerequisites?

There are certain imperatives for this to work well. A willingness to bear uncertainty. Courage to stand tall when no one is behind you. A desire to find long-lasting, not band-aid, solutions. Curiosity to explore the unknown and untested. Perseverance in the face of failure.

What is your reality?
What is your perception?
What questions are you asking?

Reality is what we take to be true.
What we take to be true is what we believe.
What we believe is based upon our perceptions.
What we perceive depends upon what we look for.
What we look for depends upon what we think.
What we think depends upon what we perceive.
What we perceive determines what we believe.
What we believe determines what we take to be true.
What we take to be true is our reality.
Gary Zukav

What do you think?
#career #entrepreneurial #expertise

This article has been adapted and was first published in the New Straits Times in January 2017.
Midsection of man holding hands over white background headline image courtesy'

Author: Rowena Morais

​The HR Gazette's media partner, Vertical Distinct, provides the resources you need to develop your professional abilities and career to the fullest in either HR or Technology including articles and podcasts, white papers, and the latest surveys and reports. Rowena Morais is the Editor of An entrepreneur and blogger, she has a passion for HR and Technology. You can connect with her on LinkedIn, Google+ or Twitter. ]

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