The Website and Blog of HR Author and Speaker Lori Kleiman

What Makes a Great HR Person?

HR professionals come in all shapes and sizes. Large organization will have a Chief Human Resources Officer that manage a large team of trained HR professionals. Middle-market organizations may have HR reporting into the Accounting or Legal function. And smaller organizations often use the CFO or controller – or even Office Manager to handle the HR function.

Regardless of the location and title, your HR department will be the face of management to your employee population. They will be the first person new team members meet, and the person or department employees come to when things go wrong. Consider your specific culture – if HR is to represent the management team at large, you should be able to describe your HR executive with these adjectives:

  • Professional
  • Communicative
  • Decisive
  • Responsive
  • Business savvy
  • Facilitator
  • And, most importantly….. Problem Solver

Communication and patience are key skills you should see on a daily basis from human resources. The HR department will have many internal and external constituents they need to navigate on a daily basis. Working with line employees, executives, and community executives simultaneously is a typical part of the HR function.  The key is to have a flexible yet decisive individual at the helm of you human resources department who can professionally represent your organization. Your HR executive must provide a positive reflection of the organization to the general public at all times.

HR leaders should be reflective of the culture they’re part of and able to speak fluently about the business operation. They must be approachable to all internally, but also be able to separate from the employee population as executives: they must know and understand “the gang” without being a member of the group. Their writing skills should provide a level of communication that demonstrates executive experience, while still being approachable to the internal culture. The verbal communication style should be a top competency and one that is utilized daily in both formal and informal interactions with your team.

Your HR executive should understand the drivers of your business, including cost factors, competitors, service, and technology. HR needs to understand the barriers to success and be aligned with strategy to attack these issues. When evaluating aspects such as pay policy, training programs, and how to recruit, HR should make decisions that are grounded in the best interest of the long-term success of your organization.

If these traits are embraced by your human resources team, you will have a valued member of your leadership team!

Photo: Tomasz Stasluk

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