Let´s talk about Best Practice in HR. Of course, I would not be honest if I said I never met some mediocre or even bad HR professional, manager or director over the last 10 years of consulting. Nevertheless, I firmly believe - and there is evidence for it too - that you learn much more from what is right (or better said, effective) rather than from what is not. So I would like to share 3 main competencies successful HR people I had the pleasure to work with across different companies and industries have in common.
1. They Think Big and Ahead!
Strong HR managers have developed and own a solid vision about their HR Function, regardless to the current situation and reputation. They have first of all deeply understood, eventually challenged, the business strategy and have a deep understanding of the industry far beyond pure HR issues. Once they have gained clarity about long term goals, they envisioned the ideal set-up for HR in order to support those goals. Those professionals who developed such a mindset for themselves never fall into mere execution because in the light of long term goals any task becomes strategic. Do not get me wrong, such a competence is not only for directors, I met young talented professionals with very low responsibility at that time who already where thinking and acting in this way. Of course the less formal power you have the tougher the challenge to influence a strategic change.
2. They Build Bridges!
A positive consequence of wanting to understand the business is that you get to know a lot of people across the organization and the industry. I observed how talented HR professionals and managers consequently used their relational base to build bridges between different functions and areas. They think about the whole system and identify potential mutual benefits for different parties. Being out of the fire-line is not always a negative, as an HR professional you can keep the overview and not get drawn into pressing matters: know who is brilliant in managing with specific situations or has the right information and make those resources available for those who are under stress. Empowerment is about making people express their full potential, give them an opportunity to be acknowledged and grow, and there you go. For many HR people this was the crucial aspect that made them be perceived as points of reference and as a real and relevant "business partner".
3. They Develop a Consistent and Coherent HR Strategy!
Satisfaction questionnaires, as positive they might be, are not making the difference in business and are not impressing the line. Strong HR managers know this well, they are aware that only an over time consistent HR strategy , that is coherent with the business strategy, will have a concrete impact on the business. I had the pleasure to observe HR managers presenting to their board, systematically starting from business goals, addressing specific needs of the line and showing how they could support them in an effective and goal oriented way. To do so they where in constant dialogue with their line managers, talked their language and kept it always extremely pragmatic. Being pragmatic and strategic at the same time is an art I observed only in the most talented HR professionals and managers I met. Further, when it comes to strategy of a function we are not talking about solo-players, great HR people are first of all empowering their own colleagues and spreading a feeling of belonging and identity amongst the whole HR structure.
I would love to share some concrete example and even endorse precise people, but due to confidentiality this won´t be possible here. Maybe you would like to share some Best Practice or further insight, I am sure this would help and inspire your colleagues and enrich this post a lot, share and comment on social networks or reach us via mail, email@example.com