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Business Acumen for HR Professionals: Everything You Need To Know

Source | | Shani Jay

Arguably, the strongest predictor of business impact is the ability to understand the business, or business acumen. This skill is underdeveloped in HR. Indeed, 4 in 10 CHROs consider business acumen the most lacking skill in HR talent. So what is business acumen in HR, and how can you develop this competency?

What is business acumen in HR?

Business acumen refers to the ability to understand an organization’s goals, purpose, and vision and create processes, policies, and activities aligned with this that best serve the organization and drive it forward. It’s a vehicle for improving financial performance and leadership development.

Business acumen is also sometimes referred to as business sense or business savvy.

HR professionals who have business acumen understand the core business principles, internal and external operations, and the goals of the organization; they can strategically tailor and position their policies and day-to-day activities to best serve the organization and its end customers, leading to an increase in profits.

They know that business strategy is not separate from Human Resources but rather a fundamental part of fully understanding an organization and best serving both its employees and end customers. 

Why is business acumen important for HR professionals and businesses?

The role of HR is evolving and business acumen is a core competency today for all HR professionals, not only HR business partners.

Did you know that business acumen is the most lacking competency when looking for top-level HR talent? 41 percent of CHROs cite business acumen as the most lacking skill when searching for HR talent.

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