“Human Resources isn’t a thing we do. It’s the thing that runs our business.”
~ Steve Wynn, Wynn Las Vegas ~
Client Suzanna Asks: We are building our HR department. We want to make it the star in our company—really there for every need. What professional qualifications should we look for as we augment our human resources section?
Coach Joel Answers: There are several things to look at as you hire HR employees. Of course you want them to be a good fit for you and your company. You have a hard-charging company and so every employee you hire needs to be fully committed.
For your human resources department, you need additional skills.
1. Certification. Certifications give you confidence your new hires will have documented professional qualifications. Degrees and other curriculum give people training and theory on best HR practices.
Still, this is theory only. Most human resources departments also look for those who have interned and gotten hands-on training.
2. Interns. When you hire summer interns, you get a great look at their professional qualifications. More than that, you see the less visible. How do they interact with your current team? Is their personality a fit for your office? Do their ethics and integrity match what you are looking for?
3. People skills. Perhaps more than any other organization in your company, the human resources department interacts with people. A key component of any professional qualification includes skills in interacting with others.
How do they interact with people of different cultures, races, or abilities? Are they able to diffuse frustrations? Can they listen and be that intermediary between worker and company?
4. Testing. When you hire, you’ll be filling specific functions. You want to make sure your payroll person knows how to do payrolls. Your insurance person needs to understand policies, premiums and options.
Your compliance person must understand federal and state laws as well as all the rules and ordinances your company must follow.
You may want to give tests to your prospective hires to make sure their skill level matches your needs. This would be a follow-up to the certification or training they’ve received. Did they understand and process all the skill sets in their training? Your company tests will guarantee it.
5. Technical expertise. Suzanna, your company is focused in IT. The new hires coming through your HR need to have very technical skills. While your HR professionals don’t need to know those skills, they need to speak some “geek.”
In the same way, a hospital HR needs to understand medical jargon. Or an engineering HR needs to know acronyms and skills to be able to assess qualifications.
So you’ll need to discuss with your company managers how much technical expertise they’d like your HR department to have. As you advertise and interview. As you set up mentorships and work on succession planning. How qualified do your people need to be on the technical side?
Suzanne, you are right on target to seek outstanding professionals in your human resources department. This will add value to your company. Be sure to consult with other leaders and managers to really understand how you can best serve them.
Then you will be in a better position to hire people based on their professional qualifications or to train them in-house.
Call to Action:
When you’re ready to improve your human resources department and raise your professional level, contact Joel. He will assist with training, motivation, and clarity of communication.
Talkback: What steps have you taken to improve the professional qualifications in your human resources staff?
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“Don’t confuse Career Advancement with Career Development or Career Counseling.
Career Development is about work skills. Career Counseling is about work placement skills. Career Advancement is about political skills and working the system.”
~ L. Flores ~
Carter works as a healthcare executive in a large regional hospital. “The new healthcare law changes the whole game,” he says. “The hospital is scrambling to find new ways to cut costs. Long time positions are under the ax and people need to expect to do more.”
Career development is important to Carter. He not only wants to keep his job, he wants to grow with the new changes. Carter entered healthcare because he loves serving and making a difference to people. Now his goal is to find a way to make the new laws work in his hospital. At the same time, he wants to continue to grow his career.
“I asked myself a series of questions so I could position myself for success,” Carter said. “I wanted to continue to add value to the hospital and to advance myself.”
1. What’s Changing? To stay on top of things, Carter needed to know what would be changing. This meant reading up on the trends, the commentaries, even going into the thousands and thousands of pages of the new law.
He checked with other hospitals to see how they were dealing with the impact.
2. What’s Essential? Carter looked at all the hospital staff to evaluate what could be cut and what was most essential. Who was adding value?
Next he examined how he could add value. What could he do in his current position to best assist the hospital transition? Which positions above him would likely be retained?
“It would be stupid to try to work into a job that might not be there in a year or two,” Carter said. “So I needed to be strategic in looking at my career development.
3. What New Qualifications Do I Need? “As I looked at that next position, I evaluated what additional skills, education, and leadership I would need to step into that healthcare executive spot,” Carter said. He listed them and worked to put himself in the place to get them.
“Ideally, I didn’t just want to match the skills of that executive,” Carter said. “I wanted to be better. I wanted to be more qualified.”
4. How Can I Make Myself Indispensable? “I decided to develop my career by making myself as valuable as I could. Both in my current job and my desired advancement, I wanted to be known as the guy who would always come through.” Carter said.
He looked at what was important to his boss. And he tried to make sure that everything he did added to the bottom line of the hospital. Cost-cutting ideas. Streamlining processes. Technological advancements.
“I felt if I added value to my boss and his goals, and if I made a difference to the hospital’s focus of both patient care and cost cutting, that would be the best use of my time and efforts,” Carter said. “I also worked to make sure my work was visible to key people.”
For Carter, his questions and answers paid off. He saw his career develop as he moved into the healthcare executive position he’d wanted. And he continued to gain fulfillment in the industry he loved.
If your healthcare job may be at risk, contact Joel and learn the skills and resources to keep your job and advance your career.
Talkback: What have you done to keep your career development on track in the midst of the healthcare law changes?
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