Originally a guest post on Rehaul.com

We all come from an interesting place

As a whole, those of us within the profession come from many backgrounds. From what I have read and the data I have seen, very few of us within Human Resources come from a background of finance, accounting, operations or business administration. While not a fairytale, it is rare to see. This is not bad. Not being born and bread in the education of business can allow us to step outside of the typical 'numbers' and 'quotas' that often are focused on by the business and pay attention to the people that essentially drive the 'numbers' and 'quotas' of the business. The funny thing - if you see someone going into HR from an area of business - the reaction given are often puzzled faces and questions. Ummm whyy??

The thing is, we need to have the understanding that comes with an MBA or what any degree in business holds.

What we're good at

We are good at policy, procedure. Human Resource professionals are intelligent on benefits, compensation. Mitigating a certain level of risk. We can identify talent and create great recruiting strategies. We can align development opportunities with the gaps that may exist. We also have the PHR, SPHR, or GPHR to prove it! Overall we are good at these things (of course we all know some people within the profession that suck. However, I don't want to argue that point).

What we are not as good at

Numbers. Aligning strategy to business goals. Developing formulas and equations to define return on investment for our departments and the programs that connect to our internal clients. Communicating. Coming up with that strategic plan. All the buzz words that are out there now.

I'm not implying that we are not good at all of these items. What I am saying is that a large percentage within our profession have never had to do it. So the practice and strengths are not so strong.

The Business MATTERS

If anyone knows this - human resources, recruiters, payroll and all the other functions within HR - should and do know that the business matters. We serve and define strategy in order to enable us to provide the best and brightest. We also do what we can to deliver on practices that will improve the competencies and people within the business. Yet when it comes to the crucial conversations - many do not often speak the language that operations and the business understand. In this, we need an education!

Practice what we preach

We hear it all the time. Talk of becoming, being and taking the role of a "Business Partner." We even see titles changing from traditional HR to having them include 'Performance Consultant' and 'HR Business Partner.' Great but if all you have is a title and you do not posses the nerve or competencies to be a "true partner" who cares. We want to go beyond just the title and move into a true understanding of what the business needs, we as HR professionals need to step out of our own box of understanding, get out of our own surroundings and step into the box (terms and practices) of the businesses and industries we are in. This means sitting one on one with the VP's. Talking with individuals whom work in the field (come on, who uses the term 'whom'), front lines and shop floors. Even shadowing and rotating throughout various parts of the functions in order to get an idea of, not only the true culture of a company but also, the sub-cultures of the company.

WHY HR needs an MBA

One reason is for the common language and jargon. We in HR need to be skilled in translating our own jargon to all departments. Another, to have practice, practice and practice within the all areas of business. To tie our strategy effectively to the strategy of the organization.


What we truly need is to build and be willing to earn the knowledge, trust and power from and for the business. These traits could be earned by obtaining that type of degree or certification. However, it can also be earned by spending the time within the areas that focus on the business and its relationships.

Do what you will

I am not saying that you HAVE TO HAVE a degree in business. I'm just saying that YOU SHOULD HAVE some understanding and credentials within your business. Whether that be an MBA, B.S. in Finance, Associates in Business or a certificate in operations. If you can do it then do it, it will only make you more well rounded.

Unlike many I am open to criticism no matter how sweet or dirty. Bring it on :)


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