How can HR professionals achieve star status?
There’s been much debate recently about the need for the HR profession to step their game and prove their valuable contribution to the business. (How to be an HR Superstar!)
But what do HR people need to do personally to win the respect of their management colleagues, build their skill level and put themselves on a career trajectory?
Here are five ways HR people can raise the bar and prove their worth:
Time and time again, HR people are accused of not being strategic players.
Now it’s easy to get defensive – and there are of course many HR professionals with excellent business sense who are operating at the top table. But it’s probably also true to say that there are a fair number who struggle to find the best way to achieve excellence in HR as well as the business aspect. A useful approach is to start with the data. If you can use your HR data to uncover trends or opportunities, and match those with the markets, the issues and the direction the organization is headed in, your insights are likely to gain respect from those that matter. The key is to do the research, ask the right questions and network. Get alongside the people who can give you deep insight into what the business needs and how you can really add value and show you can deliver.
Be a Business Innovator
HR professionals are often seen as the “gate-keepers” rather than enablers within the business. Managers often don’t see them as people who can help them attract and retain the right talent and run their teams or departments more effectively. More often they are worried that if they raise an issue with HR they will get bound up in endless administrative tasks and barriers will prevent them from moving the business forward. If they are to shake off this image, HR people need to be problem solvers and position themselves as people who can support managers rather than get in their way. The best HR people are involved in day to day activities of the business so that they can find out what the employees really need to be successful and productive.
Get Tech Savvy
If you have any doubt about the importance of HR technology, I’d like to remind you what HR legend Dave Ulrich said when describing the key competencies needed for success in HR:
“To be successful HR professionals must be technology proponents who use technology for efficiency, to connect employees, and to leverage new communication channels, e.g., social media.”
It’s important that HR takes the lead in identifying and implementing solutions. You understand better than IT what the business needs. By implementing solutions that help streamline you HR processes, you can cut down on unnecessary admin and give managers the tools they need to run their teams as well as present yourself as a leader.
Manage your Career
I’m sure you’ve heard the old saying about how hairdressers always have the worst possible hair and builders never finish renovating their own houses. It can often be the same for HR. They invest huge amounts of time and effort helping other people manage their careers – but have a tendency to ignore their own aspirations. If you are serious about proving your worth as an HR professional, you need to be investing in your own continuing career development, playing an active role in your professional association and keeping up-to-date with the latest trends and idea. It’s about becoming the best you can be in your current role – as well as demonstrating ambition and keeping an eye on the next opportunity.
Look After your Well-Being
There’s no doubt that HR people are under an enormous amount of pressure. They’re typically expected to do everything from issuing contracts and writing policies and procedures to driving employee engagement and leading on talent. HR departments are often under-resourced and under-funded-and as a consequence, professionals can find themselves working long hours juggling the tasks at hand. Rather than solely taking responsibility for other employees, HR proffesionals need to pay attention to their work-life balance and their emotional and physical health. It’s important for you personally – but also a great opportunity to role-model a sensible approach to the rest of the business.
What do you think HR people need to do to become an HR superstar?