More than a decade ago, Fast Company magazine published an article titled "Why We Hate HR." A key point of the widely read and discussed article was that human resources, as a business function, was not contributing strategically to the organizations it served. Therefore, senior management marginalized HR.
Since that wake-up call, HR has evolved into a more strategic function and has gained a seat at many C-suite conference tables. During its evolution, the profession spawned an aptly named role for its more broadly skilled and strategically minded practitioners: human resources business partner (HRBP). The position is "the fastest-growing role in the profession," according to columnist Josh Bersin for Human Resource Executive.
"A great HR business partner must balance strategy and execution, have an intimate understanding of business challenges and be able to re-frame those challenges through the lens of the employee experience and talent strategies," Bersin notes.
Level Up With an Online MBA
To perform the responsibilities Bersin describes, an HR business partner requires impressive skills that you are not likely to acquire without years of experience or an advanced degree, such as an online Master of Business Administration with an emphasis in Human Resources Management from the University of West Florida. Along with building the business and HR skills, you will need to meet your HRBP responsibilities, the learning experience itself can help you gain practical leadership and management abilities as well.
If you aspire to reach senior management at your organization, "You must play at their level," notes Doug Stirling, an employee development consultant at DecisionOne Corp in Frazer, Pennsylvania. Stirling, who holds an MBA, told Monster, "Anyone with a desire to move into an HR management position, or move outside, should pursue an MBA."
Learn Business, HR and Leadership Skills
An MBA with an emphasis in HR concentrates on key connections among employees, leadership and the overall business organization. These connections are explored and analyzed in business and HR courses that touch on business processes, finance, analytics, marketing, compensation and recruitment.
Courses such as Management and Organizational Behavior take a deep dive into leadership by examining how management philosophy and style influence organizational behavior.
Strengthen Leadership in Every Assignment
Consider how the MBA student experience can help you build skills considered essential for business leaders, such as communication and teamwork:
Communication — Business leaders are expected to be good communicators whether writing or speaking or listening. And your MBA experience will include numerous opportunities to practice those skills.
Teamwork — Group assignments are the perfect forum for acquiring, building and applying management and leadership skills like team-building and collaboration.
- Team-building is among a leader's most important tasks. It involves organizing individual contributors into a cohesive group to meet a common goal. As a student, if you have the opportunity to lead a group assignment, take advantage of it.
- Collaboration involves a combination of many other leadership skills, starting with communication. As a collaborative team leader, you will facilitate by allowing every team member to weigh in and engage, communicating in a way that creates a safe environment for idea sharing and even disagreement.
Continue the HR Evolution
As the evolution continues, the new model for HR will require many well-educated human resources business partners with the leadership skills you can gain by earning an MBA in HR management.
Learn more about the UWF online MBA with an emphasis in Human Resources Management program.
Have a question or concern about this article? Please contact us.