Human Resources is the proactive business partner in a modern organization. It develops strong business relationships with other business leaders and becomes an integral part of the leadership team. The journey of Human Resources has taken many years to become the valuable partner. We drive the strategic agenda with a significant impact on the productivity of the organization, profits given to shareholders and engagement of employees. HR strongly influences the future of the business. As our importance grows, we need to focus on the HR Leadership. Human Resources needs to develop all HR talents as the function continues to increase its influence, impact, and relevance. Being the HR Leader is a tough job today as most strategic initiatives are about changing capabilities, skills and competencies of employees. Dramatic changes do not start with the technology; they always begin with the people. That is what the HR Leadership about – the strategic management and leadership of the workforce management through engagement, empowerment, communication and sharing visions.
The people are the most valuable assets. This is a true statement. However, many organizations still manage the critical financial assets with a much higher attention. It was the first critical mission of Human Resources. It had to turn employees from the columns of costs to the column of the valuable resources. HR had to build a strategic partnership with the CEO to make him believe that employees create a competitive advantage because they can do the organization act differently from competitors.
The story of the modern HR Management starts with the strategic business partnering. Human Resources has the power to turn “assets” into “actionable initiatives”. Each leader has the engaging vision, but HR can be useful in spreading the vision and ideas across the entire organization. It has tools that make sure that all employees receive the same message. It collects the feedback from staff and managers; together with the business leader it elaborates the vision further. The partnership with the CEO was the beginning of the journey. It brought benefits to both Human Resources and the CEO. It continued to spread through the organization, and HR has become accepted by other leaders and managers. The most important person in the process was the HR Leader.
The HR Leader has a concrete and strategic HR Agenda. She understands the employees are the only source of innovations in the organization. The technology can deliver excellent productivity and performance improvements. However, just employees can offer proposals, changes, and adjustments. The HR Leader makes sure Human Resources implements HR policies and practices allowing the continuous improvement. She makes sure the talent of employees is not lost. The HR Leader understands how employees can significantly improve business results if they the company fully utilizes the contribution of employees. The great firm always empowers employees to make decisions. It engages employees in the strategic thinking activities to deliver the state-of-the-art business strategy.
The modern and inspiring HR Leader puts critical HR topics on the table of the leadership team. She facilitates discussions and takes concrete actions to drive the cultural transformation. She facilitates discussions about the organization design and how it supports the efficiency of the business. She proposes substantial organizational changes that can smooth introduction of innovations. She asks the team for a broad participation of all employees in the effort to build a streamlined, efficient and profitable business.
Most organizations waste employees’ abilities. It is the strategic role of the HR leader to introduce significant changes that limit such losses. The HR Leader knows how innovations are important for the future of the organization. Moreover, she recognizes how the corporate culture limits employees in creativity. She supports small teams in the effort to break the status quo. She promotes results of small teams to enlighten and inspire the leadership team. They can introduce dramatic cultural changes, and they can demand such a change from line managers.
Moreover, the inspirational HR Leader develops the HR Team to make sure the team accepts next business challenges. Human Resources enjoys great times, but it has to be ready to accept additional pressure. Most western organizations grow through innovations. Such organizations require a cultural shift. They need to empower employees and engage them, again. The HR Team plays a crucial role in the transformation.
Inspirational HR Leadership
The HR Leadership is about the change and strengthening of the HR Team. It is not just about the introduction of the HR process management. It is about the development of HR professionals that can introduce and facilitate dramatic changes required by the shift of the business model. The true HR Leadership does not focus just on current employees in the team; it also aims on best talents from the job market. It offers rotations in HR for the high potential employees. It sends HR employees on short-term rotations to other departments.
HR Professionals are in a difficult position. They usually do not make decisions. They consult and influence other employees and managers. They encourage them to make a right decision. They have to be great in listening and providing feedback. They have to demonstrate they are willing to take shared responsibility. They lead cross-functional projects and deliver the HR expertise. Moreover, they have to prove they understand the business. They must talk with colleagues from other departments and demonstrate they can provide insight into any business related topic. That is what is the HR Leadership about.
The great HR Leader understands the vision of the future of Human Resources. The role of Human Resources will shift dramatically in coming years. The jobs and the content will be redefined the new workforce enters the job market. Our approach to motivation will be adjusted because millennials like short term projects. They do not prefer the long term career and promises of the promotion after five years of service. The organization will have to deliver other benefits to attract new talents; it will have to find the right balance to keep all employees happy and engaged.
First, the journey of the HR Leadership starts with HR Career paths and HR Jobs. No modern leader is born; the organization needs to develop and cultivate leaders. Human Resources has to define HR jobs properly and how they fit into the HR Career path. Today, most graduates need to be promoted several times before they can become the HR Business Partner. This is a crucial HR role that allows the employee to become the HR leader one day. The HR Career path allows the employee to gain required mix of soft and hard skills so that the newly appointed HR leader does not fail in the role.
Second, Human Resources has to define the development program to gain the required HR soft skills. The HR Professionals act as internal consultants and mediators. They require a special set of skills and competencies. They have to be great in communication; they have to negotiate, and they have to facilitate important meetings and discussions. They need to attain these skills, and the HR Leadership Development program should be a great development tool.
The HR Team has to define the HR leadership qualities. The HR Leader has to act as the inspiration and has to be a role model when the team decides which leadership qualities it will value. Human Resources does not have a standard leader. It is focused on employees and the people outside the organization. It is more about the inspiration and influencing others. It is about personal values and how not to make compromises in difficult situations. Many times, the HR Professional has to make a decision when a small compromise would be easier than the full compliance with personal values. It would destroy the person; she must stay firm and follow personal and corporate values. However, the team has to define a set of values and qualities, and the development program must be focused on strengthening them.
Connected to HR qualities are the HR leadership styles. A great HR leader does not apply just one style of the leadership. She chooses the right approach that suits the circumstances best. That is the skill the HR professional needs to learn. It is not intuitive; the HR Professional has to learn how to approach difficult situations and facilitate others. Getting the result and achieve the agreement of all participants is one of the most difficult missions of the HR leader.
These are the components of the HR Leadership Development Program. It turns talented HR employees into HR professionals who can take over the leadership role in the future. It is the program representing the significant investment into HR employees. However, the organization has to spend money developing Human Resources. It is the function that will help to gain the sustainable competitive advantage.
There are two other components of the HR Leadership development. These are HR Graduate Programs and HRM certifications. The HR Team should select the best graduates from universities and give them the opportunity to fast track their careers. Many young graduates are willing to learn quickly, however, the leader usually needs to gain the experience over many years. The leadership is about living through real-life situations; no textbook can teach the right approach. For the best HR employees, the company should offer HRM certificates. These development programs are usually great, and they provide the external view.