3 traits any HR professional should possess
Wednesday, February 15, 2017
Whether you are an HR professional or are hiring one, here are three traits the most successful HR pros — at any level and in any industry — possess.
1. Vertical thinking
From HR admin to CHRO, every HR professional must possess and vehemently protect her ability to think about the business and her work from all levels. Whether it is recruiting, benefits, employee relations, generalist work or leading the HR function, employees in this profession are the most successful when they can see their work from an administrative, tactical and strategic perspective.
For example, an HR leader may spend most of her day working on strategic initiatives, but considering the reality of the implementation from a tactical and administrative perspective will help her craft a more comprehensive approach.
Similarly, the benefits specialist may spend most his time focused on details, but taking a few minutes to understand both how the programs may be rolled out and how they relate to organization initiatives will help him prioritize his tasks more efficiently as well as increase his awareness of the impact of his work.
2. Horizontal vision
Horizontal vision is one of the key traits that separates HR employees from non-HR employees. Simply put, it is the ability of an HR pro to look at the person across from her and remember — regardless of the situation, the title or her feelings — that he/she is still just a human being with a life, interests, worries, successes, mistakes, beliefs and loved ones outside of this office.
The ability to hold onto that image and carry it with her as she considers the problem, the solutions and the best way to craft next steps that incorporate the needs of both the company and the employee as well as her goal to act authentically and with integrity are essential to her ability to successfully impact the organization.
3. A strong network
HR is an "Army of One." HR is nothing but overhead — the first to blame when something goes wrong with pay, benefits, promotions or any other matter held dear by employees — and is often relegated to a secondary role that does not afford them the opportunity to impact the problems for which they are blamed.
Conversely, when HR is working at its best, silently guiding, confidentially supporting and seamlessly advancing the people and mission of the organization, it is an extremely lonely role. HR leaders and payroll specialists are privy to every employee salary; HRIS administrators have access to the inner workings of the entire personnel systems, and business partners spend their days addressing sensitive employee relations issues, witnessing firsthand the impact of company policies and procedures.
They all need someone to talk to who understands the complexity, confidentiality and dark humor within their challenges. And with the constantly changing employment landscape, they absolutely need a network of professional support to stay abreast of changes but also understand how to realistically implement them.
An HR person with no network will at best fail to achieve the positive impact she hopes and at worst will burn out and become disenchanted with the profession.
The bottom line is, if you are an HR person, maintain your critical thinking skills, protect your compassion from cynicism, and make some HR friends outside of the office. And if you are hiring an HR pro, look for vertical thinking, horizontal vision and a strong network. Everyone will benefit!
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