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► Six Crucial Skills Every HR Professional Should Possess

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, enrollment of human resources specialists is expected to grow by more than 20 percent through 2020, which is faster than the average for all occupations. In addition, Forbes has voted Human Resources as one of the best jobs requiring a bachelor’s degree.

HR professionals truly face an ever-changing landscape. As the HR industry continues to thrive and broaden its reach, it is imperative that HR professionals focus on developing and building their skills and competencies to sustain a long career.

Here are six ways to enhance the roles of HR professionals:

1) Think globally

Having a global mindset isn’t so much about being a part of an international company or workplace, but about being open to all possibilities. A culturally aware and knowledgeable mindset is crucial to a successful HR career, and will allow you to manage and motivate a diverse group of employees. It is important to make sure your blinders are off and you are able to clearly see the potential around you.

2) Look to the future

It’s always important to stay ahead of current trends. Continually ask yourself: What will my job—not solely in the HR function but in the company as a whole—require tomorrow? Be able to identify the trends, opportunities and threats. For instance, rapid shifts in technology will create a new way of working; how can that best be harnessed in order to build stronger relationships for your company? Adopting a more futuristic focus on strategy creates a purposeful tomorrow.

3) Be flexible

HR professionals are traditionally trained to be consistent in administering policy and establishing procedure. This common practice ensures a level of equity and transparency. While it is imperative to always be fair and transparent, it is important to be adaptable and able to work effectively within a variety of situations and with various individuals or groups. A successful HR professional should be open-minded and accepting of change or opposing perspectives.

The days of throwing more staff at a challenging situation are gone. It is critical for the HR professional to learn to be more lean and thereby more productive; to hire for peak times, and to make sure they are always able to manage for the long-term.

Being flexible is mutually beneficial; it allows employers and employees to balance work and personal needs. It also builds employee trust and commitment, as well as help to attract and keep key talent, ultimately driving everyone to find solutions that work for all involved.

4) Manage the risks

HR has been tasked with protecting the assets and value of the company from unnecessary litigation and situations that could deflate the company’s value. In other words, we resolve risk before it turns into threats against the organization. The first step in risk management is always to understand the risk.

By understanding potential risks, you are able to find ways to minimize their impacts, and in turn, help your business recover quickly if an incident occurs. For instance, the most common crimes that occur in the workplace are embezzlement, theft and fraud. It is HR’s responsibility to ensure that measures are in place to safeguard against these misdeeds.

5) Be courageous

HR professionals must be courageous in their convictions and able to stand up in their organization when necessary. For instance, far too often we hear of harassment scandals being brought to light after years of rampant misconduct in the workplace, which should never be the case. It is the job of HR to take a stand at the onset of misconduct, boldly speaking up when things need to be different. This delivers a futuristic message: If we make the right move now—while it may be difficult—the company will be more profitable and sustainable in the long run.

6) Sharpen your skills through extended education

While continuing education through certification programs is helpful in every industry, it is especially important for the HR professional to enhance their professional development for unparalleled preparation in an ever-changing environment. Certification programs such as Professional in Human Resources (PHR), Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR), and Global Professional in Human Resources (GPHR), distinguish an individual in their HR profession and help to secure career longevity while retaining a sharp skill set.

Researchers have found that strong HR practices lead to higher organizational performance. But in order to function effectively, HR professionals must master these necessary competencies, think strategically and know the business well enough to be able to give managers the tools they need to do their job efficiently.

By Nina Woodard, SHPR/GPHR, MBA.  Ms. Woodard is president and Chief ‘N’ Sights Officer for Nina E. Woodard & Associates, and uses customized executive coaching and strategic business consulting strategies to heighten confidence in business leaders as they move into overseas markets.

[9/2018]

 

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