To do a HR role well is incredibly hard. Pulled in a multitude of directions, your typical HR expert will wear a bunch of different hats - employment relations, union negotiations, REM analysis, leadership & training, employment and people policies, culture, wellness, HRIS and the list goes on (and on!).
While most parts of the role require specific technical expertise and experience, the reality is that this is a people function - and without superior soft skills, your HR expert will not be utilised, recognised or respected as they should be.
At Consult, we’ve had the benefit of having met hundreds of HR experts - and what we’ve noticed is that the best of the best (the ones that all the best employers are looking for) have the following traits in common:
Curiosity and a desire to learn
Weird that this would be the first thing mentioned right? Well - wrong! Actually the best employers are looking for HR talent that is nimble and ambitious because there is so much people related change happening currently! From HR systems, to changes in government legislation around immigration and employment, culture and wellness to flexibility, talent acquisition to mobility.
And if you speak with most CEOs right now, what is worrying them? Access to talent, retention of talent and workforce planning - so having an HR function that is open to change and challenge is paramount.
Approachability and empathy
The best in HR have curated the gift of being approachable to all in the organisation - whether it is front or back office, the top table or the machine floor. The best in HR are relationship makers and employees feel at ease with them. Empathy and understanding with perspective is paramount in HR. To be able to do this, while also being able to have the tough conversations when needed is such a gift - and CEOs all over NZ are looking for HR talent that can showcase their abilities here.
It is very easy in HR to get caught up in a huge number of projects with never ending finish lines - it’s also really easy to spend a lot of money on the next best HR fad - so CEOs are seeking HR talent that have strong commercial acumen, that can prioritise multiple demands on time, cost and workforce capability.
As the HR function continues to evolve - we are seeing more demands on HR in the workforce planning space - so a commercial understanding of business evolution is paramount.
The best HR talent are culture custodians - they support and help develop the culture and they certainly protect the culture from attack. It doesn’t mean they are fluffy and glib around culture and vision - in fact the best HR talent are very strategic and focused on it - because the reality is, if your culture is right, your talent is right, your hiring is easy and frankly, HR becomes one of the best roles to have within an organisation.
So if you are looking for your next HR hire, or you are currently within HR and considering a move - get in touch with me (Kym!). My background is in in-house (HR for a major South African retailer), before moving into a HR recruitment role. So I have sat on both sides of the table, and I am keen to use my experiences to support you in making the right move, whether it be hiring the right person or looking for your next role. I look forward to hearing from you.