Are you starting in Human Resources (HR) or transitioning into the field from another area? Whichever the case, you will want to think carefully about how to prepare yourself to be effective in the field. Here is a guide for you to get a head-start and boost your skills in a career in HR.
“To win the marketplace, you must first win the workplace.” – Doug Conant
Tons of books and articles will provide you with specialized tips you will need to effectively and efficiently carry out your HR functions. Before you get into that level of the nitty-gritty, take a moment to zoom out and understand the broader skills and critical strategies you need to develop to succeed in HR.
Look at the five clusters grouped here to consider where your strengths and weaknesses lie. Do you come from a marketing background, but you haven’t devoted time to developing your interpersonal skills? Strategically plan how you can augment your skills in your weakest areas.
Here are the 5 clusters of skills you’ll want to hone to move into HR:
1. Interpersonal Skills
A career in HR requires a thorough grasp of effective people managing practices. Do you know how to successfully resolve conflicts? Can you provide an employee with constructive feedback? How strong are your negotiation skills?
Working in HR means you’ll need to be able to work with people in volatile emotional spaces as you carry out HR functions such as hiring, firing, recruiting, and promoting. As much as you can ready yourself for a situation like a strike or a lockout by studying the procedural do’s and don’ts, only strong interpersonal skills can prepare you to deal with the emotions of your colleagues in that scenario.
Key takeaway: Even though they are called ‘soft skills’ it is these interpersonal competencies that will determine how effective you are in HR.
2. Analytical and Strategic Skills
As much as you will be dealing with interpersonal issues, you will need to engage your critical thinking abilities. A core responsibility of the HR department is finding solutions to business problems based on the resources you have on hand, i.e., the people that make up the organization.
To help your company achieve its goals, you will need to consider how employees can be best deployed to align their personal goals with the business’ long-term objectives. It is a highly analytical task because you’ll need to research and comprehend your company’s current and potential skills’ gaps, trends in the workplace, and forecast your company’s needs as it evolves.
Once you have a clear picture of the lay of the land, you will need to define a strategy that can be realistically implemented, taking into account factors like time and budgetary constraints. As you construct this strategy, you will need to plan how you can measure the results of your scheme, so that you can demonstrate to your company that your strategy has worked.
Key takeaway: HR demands a high level of analytical and strategic thought.
3. Marketing and Branding
Have you ever seen those lists that come out every year profiling the best companies to work for? Many people base their decision to pursue a career at an organization based on these types of profiles.
As a result, companies focus more and more on how they are perceived by potential employees. Similar to how brands endeavor to position themselves in the mind of the consumer. To attract top talent, businesses must market themselves to indicate why they’re a desirable place to work. Most companies have a marketing department that will assist with communicating your company’s brand, but it is the HR department that articulates the ethos, culture, and vision of the organization.
4. Personal Leadership
Leadership doesn’t just mean being in charge; it also refers to personal leadership. To move into an HR career and succeed, consider how you will approach your personal leadership goals.
Have you articulated your goals so that you can channel your efforts in a direction that works toward accomplishing those goals? How can you use your unique talents in a way that benefits both your career and your life?
These may sound like highly personal questions that have nothing to do with your work. On the contrary, once you have figured out the answers to these questions you can align your actions with your vision, making you more effective in the corporate world.
5. Develop a Horizontal View
HR departments are not islands. More so than most other areas of a business, HR needs to have a global understanding or vision of how the different arms of the company function together. It is easy to become embroiled in the day-to-day details of working in HR, but to be effective and efficient you will need to master the ability to take a step back and observe the business from a distance, with a bird’s eye view.
This cross-sectional view enables HR to make recommendations and implement strategies that ensure the well-functioning of the business.
Ready to take the next step in your HR career?
HR is increasingly becoming a core business function with people move into the field without HR qualifications. Consider the above five clusters outlined above, identify your weak areas and then seek to strengthen those skills.
Here are some key takeaways to keep in mind:
- Learn about the five skill clusters to identify your strengths and weaknesses
- Find out why your interpersonal skills will determine your efficacy in HR
- Gain insight into why you need to fine-tune your powers of analytical and strategic thought for a career in HR
- Understand why HR departments need to think like marketers
Are you looking to find the right course based on your cluster points? Check out Cluster Points: What to study and which career to pursue?
If you are still unsure how you can strategically move forward in HR, use the Educartis portal to find the courses you can study that will put you ahead of the pack.
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