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25 Feb 2013 Back

The Six Skills of the Perfect HR Professional

RESEARCH: Based on a global survey of 20,000 HR professionals, Ross School of Business has identified six key competencies that go to make up the perfect HR professional.

The research shows how well the current crop of HR executives is performing around the world against these six criteria, and highlights what they need to do to raise their game and increase their impact on business results. In this “exciting time for the profession”, the authors show that by focusing their own professional development on improving these competencies HR professionals will be able to “better help themselves and their organizations create value in an increasingly volatile and complex business environment”.

Every 5 years since 1987, the Ross School of Business at University of Michigan and the RBL Group, together with research partners from around the world, have conducted the Human Resource Competency Study this most recent round was completed in 2012.

 

 

Authors Dave Ulrich, Wayne Brockbank, Jon Younger and Mike Ulrich take the stance that HR professionals should be corporate thought leaders in the human and organizational sides of business, able to frame the HR strategy through which their people and organization can create competitive advantage. They should ensure strategies to optimally deliver value to external and internal stakeholders, and partner with line managers to deliver HR and organizational agendas. The research identifies six key skills needed to fulfil these purposes, concluding that perfect HR professionals should be:

Credible Activists – They do what they say they will do. They have professional credibility built on integrity, trust, positive chemistry, and consistent communication. They also have confidence in their opinions and are strong advocates of the importance of HR.

Capability Builders – They should build organizational capabilities. Capability represents what the organization is good at and known for and outlasts the behaviour or performance of any individual manager or system. Capabilities, or company culture, might include innovation, speed, customer focus, efficiency, and work ethic.

Change Champion – They should develop their organization’s capacity for internal change so it is equal to or greater than the rate of change in the outside world, ensuring a seamless integration of change processes at the institutional, departmental, and individual levels.

Human Resource Innovator and Integrator – They need to be able to integrate HR practices around a few critical business issues, thus making the whole of HR more effective than the sum of its parts. Avoiding inconsistency and mixed messages across the organization, they should ensure that desired business results are clearly and precisely prioritized, and that the necessary organizational capabilities are powerfully conceptualized and aligned to create and sustain impact on business results.

Technology Proponent – They need to keep up-to-speed with social networking technology to help people stay connected with colleagues and employees, suppliers and customers. They should also increase their role in the management of information. Leveraging information and knowledge through which HR will be able to add substantive value to the organization.
Copyright: this graphic by permission of University of Michigan and RBL Group.

Read the full report below to see how well HR professionals are currently performing. Also discover which competencies have the greatest impact in differentiating HR professionals in high from low-performing companies and which have the greatest impact on the individual performance of HR professionals as perceived by their line managers and HR staff.

Illustration: St. Joan of Arc, c.1412. A detail from the 1854 painting by Ingres, Louvre, Paris. 

Further Information

Read the Human Resource Competency Study 2012

Ross School of Business Executive Education

Details of the Advanced HR Executive Program at Ross



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