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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Be a Brave HR

Employee engagement and retention, employer branding, competency building, workplace learning and performance, succession and career management, strategic compensation management, organizational alignment, team building, leadership development and branding and a few others I may not even be aware of. Leaders I've talked to are beginning to realize how important it is to pay attention to things involving people if they are to succeed in business.  The current challenge is that in most organizations, no one has either the skills nor the time to pay attention to all these. Not even HR!

This is why HR professionals who continually develop themselves and use their own organizations as workshops for building their capacity to perform at a strategic level are hard-to-find gems and deserve a premium pay in the immediate future if not today.

How does one get there, is a question everyone who is keen on furthering their HR career must ask. Let me share my own thoughts on this.

First, you must be brave. 
I mentioned earlier that organizational leaders recognize the value of a good HR strategy. However, most are unwilling to jump in with their two feet, certainly not if there's too much risk involved. Anyway, it's investment we are talking about here. So, are you, as an HR professional brave enough to go to your boss to present your proposal, go through scrutiny, recognize a need to tweak your strategy or argue that your boss is mistaken and the he/she needs to consider what you are proposing? If you can do this, you are brave and you are exactly what the doctor ordered to help improve an organization's health.

What does it take to be this brave HR?
To go unprepared is not brave, it's stupid. Real bravery comes from confidence and confidence comes from being equipped and prepared. Here are a number of things I believe you and I as HR professionals must continue to do:

  • Sharpen your saw -  attend seminars, get certifications or at the very least, read and read voraciously about anything hr! (Pun intended) Those who won't are doomed to reach their level of incompetence really early.
  • Hone your communication skills - build confidence in your ability to put words together. It is easier to be brave when you know you can express your thoughts with ease.
  • Learn the language of business- and that language my friends, is expressed in numbers. You can't tell your boss  your company must adopt this or that only because it's standard HR practice. This is the kind of thing that puts HR's reputation in the crapper!  You must learn to see the cost and benefit of an HRIS implementation, for example before going up to your boss and asking for money to buy one.  This goes the same for any HR-related investments. If you can't justify the cost, chances are you can't have it! 
  • Build your reputation - the first thing about getting your boss used to your voice is to start speaking up and sharing your thoughts about current situation and how HR can help. I guess you have to get used to this as much as your boss do. I believe that if you apply all the previous tips I mentioned above, it will be easier for you to build the courage to do this. The more you make sense, the more your boss will want to listen and even go to the extent of seeking you out before making decisions that have impact on people. That is how you improve your stock as a manager and leader. 
Here's my call to action, are you writing this down? Create a personal vision of how successful you want to be as an HR practitioner, create a detailed roadmap of the skills you need to build and the moves you need to make and get on your first step after reading this article!

Best of luck!

Shameless ad: I'm running a High Performance Leadership Workshop on November 22 and 23. I believe the skills you will learn here is as essential to your success as HR Professional as everyone else. Check out the details below.

 High Performance Leadership Workshop - November 22 and 23, 2012

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