The 7 Skills That HR Professionals Should Be Developing Right Now
By Sharlyn Lauby
While it’s always good to keep our skills current, it’s particularly important right now. HR professionals are being relied upon to help their organizations reopen operations, increase productivity levels, and bring employees back to the workplace. Some HR professionals are looking for new opportunities right now. And others are looking to pivot into an HR career.
The challenge becomes, what are the right skills to focus on. Let’s face it, we only have so much time to dedicate to professional development. The time we spend needs to be focused and relevant. Here are seven skills that human resources professionals might want to find time for:
HR Competencies. If you’re not aware, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) has an HR competency model. This is a great place to start. It has one technical competency and eight behavioral competencies including relationship management and ethical practice.
Business Acumen. Given everything that’s going on right now with the economy, it makes sense – both personally and professionally – to fully understand the concepts being discussed. We will be able to react faster to changing business dynamics if we stay on top of what’s happening.
People Analytics. It’s not enough to know metrics anymore. HR professionals need to understand people analytics and how to manage a people analytics project. You don’t need to be a data scientist, but you should know enough to be able to comfortably hire one.
Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Work. EdX and MIT are offering a MOOC (massive open online course) on Shaping the Work of the Future. HR pros need to know when to buy, build, and borrow talent. They also need to know when to use bots (and AI) instead of hiring someone. The course is free.
Performance Management. Every organization – regardless of industry – cares about performance. It’s how they accomplish their goals. HR professionals will want to design performance management systems that help the company and employees improve performance. Oh, and they also need to be systems that everyone finds valuable and are willing to use.
Consulting. If there’s one skill that I feel has helped me over the years, it’s consultation. This one is also part of SHRM’s competency model. Whether you’re internal or external HR, it’s important to know the principles of being a good consultant. Check out Peter Block’s “Flawless Consulting” for insights.
Wellbeing and wellness. This one goes hand-in-hand with performance management. If organizations want a high performing workforce, they need to create the right environment. HR has the opportunity to set the stage through the development of wellbeing initiatives.
This list doesn’t mean that HR isn’t going to be responsible for directing recruitment, training and other employee activities. It also doesn’t mean HR won’t be relied upon for compliance matters. But hopefully, this list provides a starting point of the skills that CEOs will want their HR departments to know in the future.
Organizations and HR have an opportunity to reshape expectations. HR pros have to ask themselves to what extent they want to drive the change.
Originally published by SHRM on June 1, 2020 by Sharlyn Lauby. Sharlyn Lauby is an author, writer, speaker and consultant. She is president of ITM Group Inc., a consulting firm which focuses on developing training solutions that engage and retain talent in the workplace.