The best HR peeps are ultimately business professionals first and foremost.
What makes the specialism challenging and complex is the old adage that “there’s nowt so queer as folk”.
People do indeed sometimes behave in unexpected ways at work which is where the human element comes into play. A good sense of humour and the ability to be a chameleon is often required.
What also makes the practise of HR challenging is the level of buy-in from business leaders and other senior stakeholders. Without this much effort can become very much an uphill battle.
Getting HR right therefore is very much an artform.
We’ve interviewed hundreds upon hundreds of HR folk over the years that have provided inspiration in how they tackle HR challenges and in their general ability to spin plates.
Beyond technical ability such as a solid employment law knowledge there exists common traits and experiences gained that propel HR careers and differentiate the great from the good.
So, in an increasingly agile business landscape and fast-paced economy what specific traits and experience are senior decision makers seeking from their People Function and HR Leaders?
Emotional Intelligence (EI) – Arguably the most important of all traits, distinguishing great HR peeps from the good or average. Demonstrable humour, approachability and humility.
Commerciality – Strategic Thinkers who can provide true business partnering and holistic viewpoints to the table and who can influence and challenge at all levels.
Broad Industry Exposure – Which provides welcomed insight to Business Leaders for innovation and different approaches to theirs and an organisations challenges.
Visibility – Closely tied to leadership and leading from the front, this characteristic of HR A-Players is all about being able to inspire, engage and building strong relationships on the shop floor and at all levels. Demonstrating positive energy, confidence and the ability to present. Back office functions should be a thing of the past!
Project-Management – A proven track record of delivering a wide-range of business (not just HR) projects is evidence of a HR expert who is likely to become a real asset for the bottom line.
Talent Acquisition – A sound knowledge of how to proactively attract and retain the best people to a business is more important than ever as is employer branding and the effective use of people analytics and an L & D function for driving performance.
The above non-exhaustive list hints at how delivering HR work well for a business is no walk in the park and how imperative it is that HR takes an inclusive seat at the board table.
To make that seat inclusive, however, it is HR’s responsibility to push back and to educate many Business Leaders over what value HR brings and what HR can deliver if fully invested in.
HR is an absolutely vital department for driving a healthy organisational culture and for business growth. HR peeps these days are required to be Marketeers as well as the eyes and ears.
By maintaining a development focus on the above areas great HR Pro’s will continue to stay ahead of the pack.