There’s been a great shift in the HR agenda. As a leader, your focus is now on growth and innovation, rather than on restructuring. So, what key qualities are UK firms looking for when recruiting their next HR leader?
A changing environment
What skills will help you drive productivity, enhance innovation, develop new engagement initiatives to achieve your strategic objectives, and make the biggest impact?
The economic landscape has changed considerably over the last few years. Companies that have restructured and streamlined are now ready to move into the next phase – the period of growth, maximisation and innovation. If you’re newly appointed, you need to make a quick impact – there’s no time for bedding into a new role. Never before has it been so important for your department to prove its worth.
Today’s HR leader
These are the key attributes that firms are looking for:
- An understanding of the scale, complexity and culture of the organisation, and ability to use changing business models to exploit different markets.
- Use of commercial HR acumen to offer tangible solutions that will drive costs down further, yet support business performance objectives.
- A focus on keeping abreast of new employee engagement thinking, to keep one step ahead of competitors.
- Ability to roll out your own communications strategy, be credible in promoting your new initiatives and ideas to the HR team and ensure your strategy is well received at executive level.
- Power to influence and gain valuable support from the top level down, in order to execute your vision.
- A commercially-focussed interview performance that doesn’t just emphasise adding value to the HR function. Give examples of how you will help increase overall business profits, where you have made significant cost savings in your career to date, and what have been the year-on-year profit outcomes of any implementation projects you have led.
- Create a convincing, well thought-out HR strategy that focuses on quick deliverables and significant returns on project investment.
- Allow members of your team to enhance their strengths, and develop new tools that empower employees to become more autonomous. This will give you the space and time to design creative solutions, visions and values.
Listen and be mobile
In a recent article for People Management, Dave Bradley, HR director at QinetiQ, highlights how important it is for employees to feel listened to and valued. By using effective listening, negotiating and partnering skills, feedback will enable you to take on meaty projects that will deliver excellent value to the business and the customer.
As globalisation changes your role, you must become agile in an increasingly competitive marketplace. This will help you gain the necessary exposure to maintain a critical balance between UK corporate cultures and global cultural differences.
Finally, ask yourself if you could you offer the following:
- Pro-active career management and progression
- A demonstrable commercial and financial track record
- Ability to promote your strategic objectives and challenge at all levels
- A well developed professional network
- Understanding and awareness of cutting-edge HR initiatives
- Desire to develop and refresh the skill base of you and your team
- Confidence to take calculated career risks
- Strong interpersonal and listening skills.
Have you got what it takes to become an attractive proposition to a firm?