What does 'being commercial' mean?
A. Being commercial is about choices. Choices about how you spend your time and what’s going to have the biggest impact on the business. It’s not about the design of your role, your job title or your position in the hierarchy.
To be a commercial HR professional, you need to be focused on outcomes and deliverables that impact the goals of the company, in measurable ways – everything should be a means to this end. Stating that you are doing something because it's ‘best practice’ isn't good enough to pass the commerciality test.
You might have the skills, knowledge and behaviours to perform the tasks in your current role or in a role you’re applying for, but this isn’t the same as a proven ability to identify and deliver relevant commercial outcomes. I have interviewed many perfectly competent candidates who deliver great processes, but can’t explain what value they added to the organisation’s performance.
In HR, being commercial requires you to understand the business strategy in people terms, and then determine how you can help deliver that strategy through targeted interventions, processes, policies, services and tools.