How Can You Stand Out as an HR Leader?
Plenty of us strive to be the best we can be, but what does it take to make the HR department stand out in the company and the wider community?
This question has highlighted recently, with LinkedIn revealing the 2015 Australia “power profiles”; the most viewed LinkedIn profiles across a range of different departments.
In terms of HR, the top managers were from a variety of organisations including ANZ, Deloitte, Freelancer.com and Uber. All the stand out profiles had over 500 connections and were diverse in terms of age, experience, education and background. The variety underscores the potential for anyone to become an influential figure in the modern business world, as long as they have the ambition and drive.
What does it take to become excellent?
Having strong HR leadership doesn’t just benefit the individual either, as Linda Holbeche pointed out in her book “HR Leadership”. Responsibilities can extend to wider company functions, such as strategy, image management, corporate social responsibility and internal communications, possibly aided by HR management software. A great leader will actively engage with the entire company and work towards wider goals beyond their department.
In terms of the individual skills needed, there may be certain areas which require more focus. Leadership consulting company Zenger Folkman has been collecting data surrounding HR leadership for over five years and provided their findings in an August 17 Harvard Business Review article.
When ranked against other departments, HR leadership effectiveness was slightly below average, placing 12th on a list of 17 different functions. Despite this, there were certain traits that featured prominently within HR, including the ability to build strong relationships, helping others reach their potential and role modelling.
However, these are often seen as a given amongst other departments and did not necessarily point to exceptional leadership. HR professionals need to prove they can work alongside the best managers and heads of departments in the workplace.
Areas of improvement that were highlighted were resistance to rapid change, an internal focus and a lack of urgency. This all correlates with Holbche’s view that HR leaders need to have vision and courage of conviction. Its not about performing recklessly; great leaders stand out because they understand how their work contributes to an overall business strategy.
As the scope of HR is only expected to widen in terms of strategic importance, leaders must be prepared to take on a more ambitious role than ever before.