World Class HR Starts With World Class HR People

As I mentioned yesterday I attended HRevolution in Atlanta this past weekend. This gathering of world class human resources professionals gave me a chance to meet the people who I think are some of the best and the brightest in the profession. There was a lot of discussion on how we (the collective WE) can improve the field of human resources, both as a profession and in our repsective companies. Since that time there have been many blogs written that summarize the event and the sessions, much as I did in my post yesterday on Managing Virtual Teams. Here are some of the links if you want to read them.

But to me, the one that resonates the most, because I have said many of these things before in my blogs and in classrooms, is the one from Laurie Ruettimann, in her blog The Cynical Girl. She wrote a post called #hrevolution, progress, and the future of HR. Her advice centered on improving, and producing, world class HR by improving your PERSONAL SKILL SETS, not in just HR but in business. Here is her list with my comments in italics:

  • If you don’t have a bachelors degree, go back to school. (Absolutely. Think business or management, not necessarily HR)
  • Don’t brag about your SPHR. Go get your MBA. (The SPHR is  good, Laurie and I have them, but it is not sufficient to make you a business person)
  • If you are not reading business journals and staying current with financial news, start now. (Every successful CEO reads the Wall Street Journal. Do you? Why not?)
  • Immerse yourselves in politics and become experts in political issues (bond issues, public works projects, public policy debates) that intersect with your organization’s goals. (Know what is going on in your community and state. Look at the Chamber of Commerce’s website for issues.)
  • Learn how to read a balance sheet. (I skipped that in my Masters program. Big, VERY BIG, mistake. I have had to go back and learn it.)
  • Don’t talk about strategic HR goals. Work to align compensation, benefits, development, recruiting, branding, etc., around company goals and objectives. (SHRM pushes this in the PHR/SPHR program as well.)
  • Have a healthy relationship with IT and Marketing and Finance. (Have a healthy relationship with all the functional leaders in your organization. Learn what keeps them up at night. They don’t care about your issues, they care about theirs.)
  • Stop talking about social media. Talk about the business. Bring in social solutions as appropriate. (Social media is a tool, not the solution.)

I will add two more bullet points:

  • Most successful CEOs read a lot, not just business books or journals. They also read biographies and fiction. Classics. There are lessons in life in all great literature that will make you a better HR pro. Read them.)
  • Spend time working in another department. Learn what it is like to be a line manager.

So there you have it. A list that will help make you world class in Human Resources. Try it you will be amazed at what will happen in your career.  Oh, by the way, make sure you read ALL THE COMMENTS ON LAURIE’S POST. Many people have weighed in on what she has to say.

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