7 Competencies Successful HR Executive MUST Know

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“Nothing splendid has ever been achieved except by those who dared believe that something inside them was superior to circumstance.”

~ Bruce Barton ~

Client Amanda Asks: I know the face of HR is changing. It’s really important for me to be on top of the game.  What competencies will insure my success as an HR executive?

Coach Joel Answers: You are right on target, Amanda.  There is ongoing evaluation of what an HR executive should do or be.

Perhaps one of the most innovative is the change from task orientation to influencer. Executives no longer just apply the decisions of company management, they help create change.  They strategize, and help shape the company culture.

Here are seven traits that will keep you in the forefront of all human resources executives.

1. Business knowledge. The bottom line fundamentals of business are essential for every executive, regardless of area of expertise.  HR leaders are no exception.  You need to understand the value of your business. You must be able to explain the value and business model to others.

And, of course, you need skills to keep you current with business technology. Know the latest in software and hardware to be efficient and innovative.

2. Company culture. In the past, you lived with the company culture. Now, you will get ahead if you help to shape that culture.  You know the values that keep talent and those that push them away.

Help form a company culture that will attract and keep the finest employees. Help your people understand the culture.  Assist them to apply it to advance their success as well.

3. People Management. Of course this is the traditional strength of HR.  You must implement workplace policies. Know best practices for hiring, payroll, employee assessments and so on.

Understand the administrative side and oversee the day-to-day work of the people in the company.

4. Strategy expert.  This is a new area of competency for HR executives. You will join with management in executing strategy.  You’ll assist other managers and leaders to help them make the right changes happen.  They may look to you for guidance in moving from vision to reality as it applies to your human resources.

5. Be credible. Ethics matter.  HR executives may be the standard bearer for integrity.  When people know they can trust you, you gain respect.  Then you will be listened to.

You’ll have a chance to offer points of view.  This is part of the new competencies.  You may take a position and actually challenge assumptions.  You are in a place to influence people and policy, but it takes credibility and integrity to make it work for you

Gain that credibility as you deliver results, share information, and build relationships of trust.  Then use that credibility to influence others.

6. Organizational designer. In HR, a successful executive knows organizational theory.  They do the research to tailor it to their company.  They don’t just do things because they’ve always been done that way.  They plan the best organization and then work to implement it.

It may be a matter of designing a motivating rewards system.  You may implement successful feedback and reviews.  Or design a mentoring program or cross pollination to increase your talent pool.

7. Talent management.  Traditionally and always, a core competency of every successful HR executive centers around succession planning.  You need to ensure both today’s quality workers and tomorrow’s talent. You’ll create systems for recognizing and developing talent.  You’ll reward that talent.

Amanda, if you master these seven competencies you will be a powerful HR executive. Success will come your way.  You’ll have the admiration of others and be a strong influence in your company.

Want to strengthen one or more of your competencies in human resources leadership? Contact Joel for individual help.

Talkback: What competencies have you found to be essential for your HR executives?

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Five Fast Ways to Implement
Effective Succession Planning Procedures

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“You were born to win, but to be a winner, you must plan to win, prepare to win, and expect to win.”

~ Zig Ziglar ~

Hans works for a multi-national company.  He was recently put in charge of a department where 10% of the workforce left in the next two months.  They either retired or moved to another job.  This left Hans scrambling to find appropriate replacements.

After the positions were filled, Hans vowed to never let this happen again. He created a Succession Planning Procedure.  These five steps made it easy for him to be proactive and prepared for any vacancy.

1. Identify Key Leadership Positions.  Hans identified those positions that were most critical. Which positions impacted the company’s core competencies the most?  What were the risks if those positions went vacant?  He drew up a list of vital positions.

Hans didn’t do this alone, he called in supervisors and HR to look at the job descriptions and assess them.  What is the function?  What responsibilities does this job have?  What authority?

Then Hans prioritized the leadership positions from vital to minimal impact.  “I considered the problems that would come if a job became vacant. And the learning curve for the replacement,” Hans said.

He factored in whether the current job holder was close to retirement. And he evaluated how marketable the employee was.  Did he have family or life events that made it likely he might change jobs?

2. Assess skills and qualities needed for these leadership positions.  Next in Han’s succession planning procedure, he had a Position Profile created.  What kind of education did this job need?  What level of experience?

He listed the core competencies essential to succeed in the job.  Did they need to be a team player? How vital was communication, innovation, or delegating responsibilities?

Within the Position Profile he listed the five essential competencies needed for each job along with other knowledge, skills, and desirable traits.

3. Evaluated current strength of potential leaders.  “I looked to see the depth of my bench,” Hans said. “How many employees on the sidelines are currently prepared to step into these jobs if needed?”

Hans looked over all his employees. Which ones had the skills sets necessary?  Which ones might be groomed to be able to step up to the plate?  How long would that take?  One year?  Two years? More?

Hans created a working list of possible successors for each job and added it to his procedure.

4. Designed Career Development Strategies.  Hans started working on the best prospects.   He first matched potential leaders with the job skills of the positions at greatest risk and with the highest level of company value.

He used the annual review time to discuss gaining the skills and competencies necessary to move up.  And he helped the employees set appropriate career goals.

Hans worked with his team to choose appropriate career development activities for these key employees. These included participation in vital projects, cross training, course work, working with a mentor, self-study or reading assignments, coaching, work related conferences, and leadership development programs.

“I told employees that participation in these activities was part of the company’s succession planning,” Hans said. “But I made sure they understood it did not guarantee they would be promoted.”

5. Monitored and Evaluated Strategies. Hans was determined not ever to be caught with a high priority talent gap again. He continued to monitor his succession planning procedure.  He reviewed the data on promising employees.

He requested feedback on the annual reviews and suggested monthly reviews to make sure the career development activities were producing the desired results.

“Once we made it a priority,” Hans said, “our succession plan came about quite quickly.  Already we’ve seen results.  First, we have a stronger team.”  He also felt the company would benefit with fewer vacancies, reduced time for new employees to get up to speed, and a general higher standard of workforce in his department.

Learn strategies to help you or your employees prepare to move up. Contact Joel for promotion help.

Talkback: What steps have you taken to set succession planning in place for yourself and your employees?

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