When considering the abundance of information on human resource (HR) management, it frequently appears as if there are two choices in HR delivery: do old HR a new way, or do new HR the old way. But what if both choices could be combined?
While it sounds like an oxymoron, the concept of combined strategies has proven effective in improving HR functions and increasing productivity.
As an HR professional in today’s fast-paced business world, your motivations are probably different from those of leaders ten years ago. Your contributions in the future will also be different—in fact, even greater. Your maturity and experiences from the past two or next ten years will afford you the opportunity to share your perspective, apply your knowledge, and be a great resource for others.
But sometimes you have to go look back before you move forward. And when you look back, it’s important to leave some things behind. The lesson here is learning how to discern what should be left behind and what may benefit you in your current and future HR strategies.
There are three things HR professionals should start, stop, and keep doing:
Start continuing your education on a daily basis:
It is neither a surprise nor a mistake that the SHRM Competency Model lists HR expertise and practice as the number-one competency and the foundation to the other eight competencies. You don’t need a crystal ball to know that the future will expect that you have done your homework.
The workplace of tomorrow will require that you know and share a lot of information. Others will look for you to not only have established your credentials in the workplace as a person who knows the business, but also be committed to one or two HR disciplines.
Exactly how, you ask? Stay ahead of the issues. Arrange and manage your knowledge in the way you would manage your time—at times focusing on just one thing. Be open to the ideas of others. While others will see you as resourceful, remind them that you do not have all the answers.
Stop talking about the work (the business) and help people do more: Today, your job may be to find the right people and manage the business within the business. Tomorrow, however, your job will be about retaining people and performance management. Do not shy away from the challenge. Your title may appear to be purely an administrative or support function that ensures compliance and the stability of an organization, but others will soon see your job as a highly integrative and consulting function with the core objective of driving organizational effectiveness (i.e. change and growth).
How do you create value? Take the things you have learned and apply them to your work. Walk a fine line between bringing structure to processes and making it easier for people to do their jobs. And do not work in isolation. Instead, see where you fit in and work together with others to develop solutions. Build collective interests and critically examine and discuss the important issues to prepare for the new operating environment.
Keep respecting others at all times: As an HR professional, you will be asked to put people first and build strong relationships. It is important to lead by example and be supportive of others. Hold high the idea of confidentiality and privacy and know that these two qualities are vital to your work as an HR leader.
This, however, is not a call for change— keep your values. It is necessary that you continue to share perspectives for solving problems, though in different languages and across borders. To a degree, respect and relationship building demands brainpower and requires that you analyze data and test your ideas. Others may ask you to set different rules, facilitate change, and depend on you to make a useful contribution. You will have to challenge your assumptions, focus on the possibilities, and work in what can be.
The Road Forward
When traveling the road forward, you will draw from your past experiences to guide current and future decisions. While some elements of old HR practice may have yielded success in the past, many are outdated. However, that is not to say that all old strategies should be completely discarded. In fact, it is important to look at the best of yesterday and apply those strategies along the road to tomorrow.
Remember, your mind may have led you to the right road, but it will be your heart that keeps you going in the right direction. In the end, your success will not be measured by your triumphs, rather, by the chances you have taken, the contributions you have made, and the people you have helped along the way. Essentially, you will be remembered for the type of leader you have become, and as an HR professional in a diverse world, the best leader is one who sets a positive and progressive example.
Why not be this kind of HR professional today?