The Trick to Becoming a Great HR Pro

From my mailbag:


I’m a recent HR graduate and I want to be great in HR. How do I become a great HR pro like you? Is there certain things I can do, read, etc.?


I get asked this kind of question a lot — “I want to be a great HR pro. What do I need to do?”

Ugh! That’s a hard question. There are a lot of things you can do. There’s a lot of things you have no control over.

S0, what do you need to do?

Show people you can be great

Just start doing great HR work! Stop waiting around for someone to allow you to do great HR work. If you want to be great, you have to show people you can be great.

Longtime New York Yankee great Derek Jeter didn’t wait around for someone to let him show them he was a great shortstop. He just went out and played shortstop. He made mistakes. He corrected those mistakes. He just kept doing it.

You need to go “play” HR. You’ll be bad at some of it. You might actually find you’re pretty damn good at some of it.

But, the more you play, the better you’ll get. It’s probably unrealistic you’ll be great right off the bat, but who knows? You might.

You’re going to find that most HR pros don’t become great because they wait for someone else to tell them what to do. You won’t become great waiting to be told what to do. You need to find out what to do on your own.

How do you do that?

Try some things … then try some more

Educate yourself. Network with other HR pros. Find out what others are doing, and what’s working and what’s not working. Start testing things in your organization in small ways. If it works, test it in a bigger way.

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Ask the people in your organization that are in charge of driving or generating revenue what they would do if they ran HR. Try some of those things. Ask them what roadblocks they have in the organization. Then work to break those down.

Walk away from other HR peers who seem to hate HR. Great HR pros love HR. They love being involved and making a difference. They are not happy with keeping things the same.

How do you become a great HR Pro?  You just have to go and do it. If you do enough stuff, you’ll find some things that are really good.

Do more of those. Do less of the stuff that sucks.

Being great is really easy — more good stuff, less sucky stuff! But, you have to do stuff.

This was originally published on Tim Sackett’s blog, The Tim Sackett Project.

Tim Sackett, MS, SPHR is executive vice president of HRU Technical Resources, a contingent staffing firm in Lansing, MI. Tim has 20 years of HR and talent background split evenly between corporate HR gigs among the Fortune 500 and the HR vendor community ? so he gets it from both sides of the desk. A frequent contributor to the talent blog Fistful of Talent, Tim also speaks at many HR conferences and events. Contact him here.